Arts & Life

Positive changes are on the horizon for the library with new dean, Elizabeth Dill

On Aug.1, Elizabeth Dill began her journey as Cal State Long Beach’s dean of the University Library.

“My vision is to infuse diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and social justice into the library’s collections, its expertise, its faces and its programming,” Dill said.

 Elizabeth Dill was named the new CSULB library dean on Aug. 1 by Provost Karyn Scissum Gunn. Dill hopes to host a variety of events to help create a strong community at the library. Photo by the University Library

She plans to implement more programming than her predecessors, so that students who do not usually visit the library feel welcomed.

“I see the library as being a community hub for folks, students, faculty and members of the community to come in and learn and do fun things and really be involved in CSULB,” said Dill.

With events like a piñata workshop and guest speakers, Dill hopes to bring her vision to life. The workshop, set for this fall, will take place at the children’s library.

09/16/2023 Long Beach, Calif: The children's library offers a family friendly room, where anyone with children can bring them here while they study. This room will also be used to host events.
09/16/2023 Long Beach, Calif: The children’s library offers a family friendly room, where anyone with children can come while they study. This room will also be used to host events that the new dean has planned for the school year. Photo credit: Lizbeth Cortes-Gutierrez

“Everyone can come and learn from a third-generation artist and create a shark piñata,” Dill said.

Lucy Anne Hurston, niece of famous author, anthropologist and filmmaker Zora Neale Hurston is also set to speak at the University Library. “She is coming to talk about her famous aunt and her perspective on race within her aunt’s writings,” said Dill.

Dill also plans to hire a librarian that will specifically work on outreach.

“They will liaise with all these organizations and affinity groups so that we can bring all sorts of people into the library and have just a great environment where everyone belongs.”

Another change that will be implemented is a diversity audit that will let the library know what is going well and what improvements are needed. The audit will be for the library’s collections, personnel, services and places. When the audit is complete the library will form a DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) work group to make those improvements and to create a diversity plan.

09/16/2023 Long Beach, Calif: The university library's book collection will be going through a diversity audit.
09/16/2023 – Long Beach, Calif: The university library’s book collection will be going through a diversity audit with plans to include more equitable books that emphasis social justice. Photo credit: Lizbeth Cortes-Gutierrez

Getting her master’s in library and information sciences was not always the plan, Dill said. She first received a master of fine arts degree in screenwriting at the California Institute of the Arts, but that path did not work out. She then decided she could become a film librarian and got a master’s degree in library and information sciences at Valdosta State University. Her second master’s degree did not take her on the path she planned, but it brought her on a school librarian journey that brought her to Cal State Long Beach.

Elizabeth Dill is now pursuing a doctorate degree in public administration, but decided to take a year off when she was hired as the new library dean at CSULB. She shared that she is very close to beginning her dissertation. “Right now there are all sorts of things happening in libraries … Book banning, parents’ groups coming out and trying to restrict who can see books and all of that is very upsetting so, likely that will be the subject of my dissertation.”

Dill’s concern for social justice will not just be shown through her work at CSULB, but also in her dissertation.

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