Dean of libraries addresses Faculty Senate

Dan Cohen, dean of libraries and vice provost for information collaboration, told the Faculty Senate that during the first week of classes this semester, Snell Library averaged about 12,000 daily entries. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

At the Faculty Senate’s first meeting of the academic year on Wednesday, Dan Cohen, dean of libraries and vice provost for information collaboration, discussed the library’s plans for updating and growing its physical and online presence.

Cohen noted that there are many exciting things in store for the library in the coming months. But he kicked off his presentation with some data—during the first week of classes this semester Snell Library peaked at about 1,500 entries per hour midday. Currently there are about 12,000 entries per day, and Northeastern’s library has about triple the overall entry count of any university library in its peer group, he added. “Go to Snell Library midday just to see what’s going on there,” he advised senators. “I think it will amaze you.”

Cohen explained that the library’s popularity is prompting some reconfiguration to address the need for more space—particularly more group study space, which he said survey data has indicated is a pressing need. Part of this includes moving the archives to the fourth floor, where they will be co-located with other research services. “We want to make it a locus of advanced research,” he said. Additionally, the library plans to move some research volumes off-campus, which aligns with a growing trend nationally, he said.

In terms of online presence, Cohen pointed to this fall’s launch of a new interface, Scholar OneSearch, which he described as a “nice clean entry point to all of our digital holdings”—such as books and e-books, videos, articles, and digital media.

He also mentioned a new podcast he hosts called “What’s New,” which will explore the ideas and discoveries that shape our world. The first episode of the podcast debuted Tuesday in News@Northeastern.