As Ohio Wesleyan was searching for a new Director of Libraries this past year, Catherine Cardwell also was getting to know OWU better, as she became a candidate for the position. Her paths had crossed over the years with OWU employees, past and present, through OhioLink and other venues. Cardwell, now Ohio Wesleyan’s Director of Libraries, shares that she was especially drawn to the University’s emphasis on information literacy and to the opportunity to continue working in a vibrant campus community.
“Ohio Wesleyan has always been forward moving,” says the Youngstown native, who at one time was in fact, one of the principal investigators on a $343,000 grant from the Ohio Board of Regents that promoted integration of information literacy into the curriculum and collaboration of Ohio’s libraries, centers of teaching excellence, and faculty members. She had by that time received her bachelor’s degrees in English and French from Youngstown State University, a master’s degree in French language and literature from the University of Pittsburgh, and a master’s degree in Library Science from Kent State University. Cardwell served for four years as chair of the department of Library Teaching and Learning at Bowling Green State University, as co-interim dean, interim vice provost, and as Associate Professor and Coordinator of Library Instruction.
“”Throughout Cathi’s career, she has demonstrated a commitment to providing meaningful student-centered library experiences and to promoting the importance of liberal education in students’ lives,” says OWU Provost David Robbins.
Cardwell’s vision of the academic library as the heart and soul of a university—a place for teaching, learning, and collaborating—inspires her to continually think of ways to integrate the library into the daily lives of OWU students, faculty, and staff members.
“I’m curious about how people read and access information in academic libraries, whether print collections or electronic acquisitions,” says Cardwell. “This is such an exciting time as students and professors are integrating e-journals and e-books into coursework.” Finding new collaborative learning spaces in the library is a high priority for her—spaces to accommodate quiet study as well as more interactive discussions and idea sharing. Many of the new thoughts and experiences shared with Cardwell involve OWU’s travel-learning and theory-to-practice components of the OWU Connection.
“I am intrigued by the University’s emphasis on international experiences,” says Cardwell, who has a strong interest in international studies and travel. She has taught in France and visited more than15 countries and plans, along with her family, to celebrate her husband Federico’s aunt’s 100th birthday in the Czech Republic.
“My passport is my most prized possession,” she says.