By Haley Morrison, Reporter
Associate Dean of Libraries Jeff Steely is leaving Baylor University on November 21 to take over as Georgia State University’s dean of libraries. Steely’s time at Baylor has spanned the greater part of 20 years.
Steely started working at Baylor in 1995 in a part-time temporary position in reference. He then left for a professional position in the serials libraries in the seventh court circuit in Chicago. He came back to Baylor in 1999 once his wife’s leave of absence ended and took on the role of Outreach Services Librarian.
“It didn’t take me more than a couple weeks to figure out that this was the career I had been looking for,” Steely said. “My wife and I had been taking turns working and going to school, we had two small children, I didn’t really have a clear direction as to where I was headed, and working in that position, I realized it fit me really well.”
After serving as outreach services librarian, Steely went on to be assistant director for client services, director of central libraries, assistant dean and associate dean. According to Steely, serving as associate dean has been the most rewarding because of its structure, but each position has had its benefits.
“Until this position, each position I had was a new position so each step along the way I have been able to kind of invent that position and identify what was needed to be done, and have done my best to make a difference,” Steely said. “For that opportunity, I will forever be grateful.”
Bill Hair, Associate Professor of Archival Management, said the changes Steely has been involved in making are almost too many to name.
These changes have included the OsoFast program, extending library hours, creating assessment programs, re-imagining space utilization within the central libraries and more.
“He was very capable and, in recognition of his abilities and accomplishments, he is now going to Georgia State University to lead them,” Hair said.
Steely said he will miss the people at Baylor the most.
According to Steely, what he will miss most about Baylor are the people he has met.
“My favorite part has just been the people I work with every day,” Steely said. “I feel like we have built a very strong team here – very collaborative and a high degree of trust in each other. I feel like we can accomplish a lot in that environment.”
Associate Director for Central Libraries Beth Farwell worked closely with Steely at Baylor and echoes this sentiment.
“Libraries works as teams,” Farwell said. “It’s not really a competitive environment so we really work as a team. When you’re working as a team all the time that really becomes a collegial family.”
Once Steely leaves on Nov 21, Farwell will become Interim Director for Central Libraries until the position is officially filled.
“There are a couple things that Jeff contributed here that we can’t replace,” Farwell said. “He is one of the most intellectual and bright leaders we have ever had here.”