A search committee has selected Marjorie Hassen of the University of Pennsylvania as Bowdoin’s new library director. Hassen, currently the director of teaching, research and library services at Penn, will assume her position on July 29. Educated at Brooklyn College, the University of Chicago and Rutgers University, Hassen also brings experience working in the library of Princeton University.

Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd said that she believes the extensive search process for a new librarian was ultimately successful in achieving its goals.

“It said to all of the finalists for the position that Bowdoin is deeply committed to its library and what its library did, and that was a good message to candidates,” said Judd.

Judd also praised Hassen’s credentials and the perspective she will bring to Bowdoin’s libraries.
“It’s quite clear she’s deeply committed to working with faculty and students and that she has supported research and teaching and learning,” Judd said.

Hassen decided to pursue library service after starting her career as a music librarian, and then began to expand what she was doing. She said she started “thinking more broadly about support for teaching and learning within the campus here at Penn.”

Hassen’s main motivation for moving from Penn to Bowdoin was the opportunity to do more work with undergraduates.

“The opportunity to be part of an institution like Bowdoin with a focus on undergraduate students, and the faculty who are dedicated to teaching undergraduates, is really compelling,” said Hassen. “I see the challenge of an undergraduate education as something that a library can really support in a variety of ways.”

Hassen also cited the oft-quoted Offer of the College as an inspiration for coming to Bowdoin specifically, noting that it demonstrated the value the College places on the liberal arts experience.
Hassen said that although the transition from a large university to a small college will be difficult, she is willing to devote time to understanding how Bowdoin’s campus functions.

“For me, the first thing on my agenda is to become very well-acquainted with the library, the staff, the students and the faculty,” Hassen said.

She does not plan on making any dramatic changes to Bowdoin’s library system right away, saying, “I’m going to be in the learning stage for awhile.”

“From everything I’ve seen and heard thus far, I believe I’m going to be working with a great group of people who are really engaged with the community and interested in supporting students and faculty and figuring out together what’s next for the library,” Hassen said.

Hassen admits that the role of libraries on campus is changing, with many students conducting their research primarily online. “Reference desks are not as busy as they used to be,” she said.
However, she is optimistic about the library’s ability to adapt with the times.

“The discovery tools that are being used are provided by the library,” she said. “Staff are involved in a wider variety of tasks than they used to be. The services, the technology, it’s all integral to what faculty and students are doing.”

Hassen also expressed excitement over the variety of people she is able to interact with through library service.

“All of the opportunities for such a variety of people at different points in their life, different points in their careers, different points in their academic pursuits, are really fascinating,” Hassen said.