Photo courtesy of Amber Stewart New Library Director Beth Bidlack hopes to inspire new students to use library resources.
Beth Bidlack has an extensive background in education and Castleton University is now benefitting from her years of experience as she takes over as the new director of Library Services.
Bidlack has four degrees in Theological Studies, Religion, Philosophy and Library & Information Science. These degrees have led her to Massachusetts, Chicago and New York. When asked about adjusting from New York to Vermont, she mentioned that she has previously spent time in the rural state.
But when it comes to adjusting to campus, she’s still learning some of the ropes.
“So far so good. It’s taken some time to kind of get up to speed on all the systems … So, some of the systems at Castleton are harder to get acclimated to or into. But certainly the students that I’ve met and the faculty and staff have all been great,” she said.
Having served as president of the American Theological Library Association and the associate academic dean of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, she built many leadership skills that had helped her with both positions.
“Throughout my library career, I’ve been interested in assessment and strategic thinking. So, the job as academic dean was very similar,” she said.
Professor Chris Boettcher was the chair of the hiring committee for the new library position and he was impressed with not only her studies.
“Her accomplishments, her thoughtfulness, her expertise in the field, just that sense that you have when you know someone would be a good fit for Castleton,” he said when asked for his thoughts on her hiring.
For Castleton, Bidlack’s goal is to make sure that students know that the library is for everyone and is a valuable resource to their studies, no matter the program they’re involved in.
She describes the library as more than four walls and a place for students to turn knowledge into wisdom.
“Information overload creates anxiety within Castleton and the world at large, I would say. So, figuring out what information you need to function in the world, and then that information becomes knowledge and you know how to apply it into what you need today, tomorrow, or this week,” she said. “Then wisdom to me is the years of understanding information and building knowledge then applying that knowledge to your life year after year and being able to help others make sense of it all.”
Provost Thomas Mauhs-Pugh is also glad to introduce Bidlack to campus. When asked to comment on her recent hire, he mentioned his excitement to see how she changes this campus.
“She is an accomplished scholar in her own right and an excellent resource for Castleton researchers. She also cares deeply about the overall well-being of Castleton students and wants to make sure the library is a welcoming, supportive environment for all to use,” he said.
As for President Karen Scolforo, she is excited to see how Bidlack puts her years of experiences and education to work on our campus.
“I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Beth Bidlack as our new library director. She has 23 years of library experience, including at the University of Chicago, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, and most recently as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Union Theological Seminary,” she said.
Bidlack is more than just a “librarian.” She is a knowledgeable scholar and is willing to put in as much work it will take to help students with their studies. She wants students to use the library and its resources to its full potential.
“I just want students to know that I welcome their input and want to work together to build the library that students want and need,” she said.