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Humans of the U: Sarah Shreeves

“You could say I was born to be a librarian. I’m a third-generation librarian. My father was an academic librarian. His mother was a children’s librarian. So I grew up in libraries.

During college, I worked in a public library. After college, I ended up in Boston and though I wasn’t really looking for a library job, I ended up working in the MIT libraries. And now I have been working in libraries for over 30 years.

Libraries and universities are very special places to me. In many ways, libraries are the heart of the university. The library touches basically all aspects of the institution because of the resources we have. It is incredible to be around the development of knowledge and to watch researchers and students build on the work that came before.

I was drawn to the University of Utah because of the leadership of President Randall and the goal to be a Top 10 university. I was looking for an environment where it felt like the university was really striving to be better and that really provides the drive for innovation and thinking outside the box.

I have loved the opportunities I have had to interact with the students. I’ve been able to do this here in a way I have not in the past, because the Marriott Library is such a center of student life. We do a lot of programming for students—like Stress Busters held just before finals. I honestly just love walking around the library and seeing the energy the students bring when they study, work on group projects, or just relax in the library.

This next year, we are going to be assessing the library’s space to see how it is used by the campus community and to find out what we can do to improve it and our services. We’re excited to have this opportunity to continue to adapt to the university’s needs.

Often, I think people think of libraries as the building and the space. But really libraries are about the people in the library. The faculty, staff and students who work with us, it’s their expertise and their skills that really bring a library to life. And I feel very privileged to work with the group I’m working with here.”

Sarah Shreeves, University of Utah Dean of Libraries