IPFW Helmke Library didn’t just show off the result of a yearlong renovation process at its grand opening Jan. 17, they also showed off the new dean of the library, Alexis Macklin.
Macklin started her career at Purdue University in 1988 and worked there for 10 years. She received her Ph.D in educational technology with a focus on information literacy while working at the university.
Macklin has been in other various academic positions in Colorado and other states, but she said when she heard the news of former dean Cheryl Truesdell’s upcoming retirement, she checked the website everyday to see when she could apply.
“This was the first time I ever really applied for a job that I really truly wanted,” Macklin said.
Not only was this position close to home for her, but she also saw the potential that the upcoming transition to the Purdue system could bring.
“While it has certainly has some problems associated with any big change, it also presents some great opportunities,” she said, “and I know that I am very proud to be a Purdue alum, and I think that because I have experience working with many of the people at Purdue University in areas of leadership I can bring something special to the table here.”
Macklin started at IPFW Jan. 3 and has already dealt with the opening of the renovated building and the impending transition from an IU system library to a Purdue system, which is a complicated process, she said.
“Before I took this job I called my former dean at Purdue University and I said to him ‘There is no way that I am going to agree to take on this task unless I have your support because there’s no way I could do this without your help.’ He assured me that he is looking forward to the opportunity to build a system wide presence,” Macklin said.
According to a report on the transition done by former dean Truesdell, 145 out of 170 of the current IPFW databases are provided to IPFW through Indiana University.
Macklin said access to some databases will probably be lost until contracts can be renegotiated. But she said she just hopes Purdue decides that the Fort Wayne campus can have access to all the same resources as the main campus.
This will also require Purdue strengthening their resources for the Fort Wayne campus music program, which is the only music degree offered through Purdue.
Meanwhile, IU students would be offered library services, but not resources, she said. IU students could use study space and computers, but they could not login to Purdue databases or check out a book directly at the Fort Wayne campus, unless reciprocal agreements were made.
Despite the questions yet to be answered to issues left to be negotiated, Macklin said she is excited to be at IPFW and is looking forward to the opportunities that the new renovations bring.
“This is such a beautiful space now and what really love about it is the flexibility of it because students are using libraries in such different ways now that this really opens up opportunities to see the space used a little bit more flexibly,” Macklin said. “The technology will provide students with real 21st century learning experience.”
The library received a complete facelift with new paint, carpet, furniture, and a new staircase connecting the first and second floors, yet, a lot of what was done can’t really be physically seen, she said, referring to the HVAC system, fire suppression systems, internet, and more.
Yet, students still have mixed reviews.
Desta Teklewold, a senior pre-dental student said, “I would rather have the tuition less … I’m more focused on studying vs. how beautiful it is.”
Imaging and photography student Carrissa Griffith said, “I really like the design, the layout of the chairs and things like that. It seems very spacious so it’s easy to get away and study.”