Coordinator of Collection Development with Rank of Associate Professor
DePauw University Libraries
11 East Larabee Street, Greencastle, IN 46135
Phone: 765-658-4361 Fax: 765-658-4017
Born and lived: Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa. Has lived in Freetown, Nigeria, France, U.K. and the USA
Early life: Born and lived in Sierra Leone and France, B.A. (Honors, French); taught French in the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria; M.A.(Comparative Literature,(African); proceeded to the USA, obtained a PH.D (French Lit.), and an M.L.S. from the Indiana University.
Professional career and activities: Eleven years as coordinator of collection development. Introduced two successful projects that continue to produce results: The New faculty Initiative and, setting up Book displays supporting approved colloquia and symposia on campus.
Family: Married, with one daughter (an attorney) and one son (a computer engineer)
In my spare time: I love reading, gardening, and sewing
Favorite books: Metamorphoses by Ovid, Washington Square by H. James, Eugénie Grandet by H. de Balzac, Madame Bovary by G. Flaubert, and all African novels about women’s lives, e.g. So Long a Letter by M. Bâ
Pet peeves: Reckless drivers make me extremely nervous.
Philosophy: Strive to make the best out of every opportunity.
Most memorable career achievement: The publication of my book, Female Writers’ Struggle for Rights and Education for Women in France, (1848-1871), New York, Peter Lang, Inc. 2006.
Goal I hope to achieve five years from now: Increase my service to the profession and keep abreast of innovative technologies, trends and sustainable approaches to the changing field of collection development.
How/where do I see the industry in five years: I would like to see a resolution of copyright legislation which would protect intellectual property rights while broadening the scope of the provision for open access to all digital and print resources.
ATG: Tell us about your job at DePauw.
JDF: As collection development librarian, I provide leadership in the development and implementation of collection policies and procedures and I provide collaborative leadership in the analysis and development of all subject and general collections.
ATG: How many people work in collection development?
JDF: Seven— I work with one Part-time assistant and six work-study students. Collection managers and Librarians serving as Liaisons to specific departments also do some collection development.
ATG: What is your materials budget? Are you buying books and journals?
JDF: A total of about one million dollars. This includes electronic resources, magazines and newspapers, monographs, media resources, etc. etc.
ATG: Are you buying ebooks?
JDF: No, we were part of the Net Library project which did not work out well for us. All our books are in print, with the exception of former print reference books which are now in e format.
ATG: Can you give us more specifics about two successful projects that continue to produce results:
JDF: The New faculty Initiative and,
When new members of the faculty are hired, the office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs sends me the list around the first week of July. We immediately contact each individual, and map out his or her curricular needs, with reference to their specific teaching areas and their courses for the first and second semesters. I ask them for a ranked list of core texts and other relevant resources in all formats, especially if those areas are new to the existing slate of courses in the department. After a careful review of these requests, I work with them collaboratively to select a set of the indispensable resources for early acquisition. The acquisitions manager informs the faculty member via email, as and when the materials are ready for use. This process is completed before they actually arrive on campus in Mid –August, when several other issues are competing for their attention.
During the course of the semester, we set up individual meetings with every one of the new hires and conduct in-depth interviews and create their teaching and research profiles which inform future collection building. At the end of the year, they are invited to a luncheon, during which they interact with all the librarians and give us helpful feedback about the experience, including suggestions for improvement.
This process has received rave reviews from participants, who appreciate, among other things, their decisive role in, and the timeliness of this hassle-free process.
Setting up Book displays supporting approved colloquia and symposia on campus.
Over the years, the introduction of book displays on the DePauw University campus has turned out to be a great success, both for the Library and the community. I introduced this service, first as an outreach activity that serves three purposes:
- To give the members of the community, faculty, students and staff, a set of talking points to facilitate discussion during the conferences.
- To highlight the role of the Library, its centrality in the knowledge creating process and as an academic place.
- To use the available funds to upgrade and update the Library’s holdings with quality, relevant materials in all formats.
Now the Library is always included in the planning stages of campus colloquia and several librarians use book displays for the following:
- Banned Books Week
- New Faculty Publications
- DePauw Discourse
ATG: Tell us about your book, Female Writers’ Struggle for Rights and Education for Women in France, (1848-1871), New York, Peter Lang, Inc. 2006.
JDF: This book is a product of my Ph.D. dissertation. It analyzes the writings—in various genres—by French women who sought change by protesting against constricting social codes that kept them as legal minors in the domestic sphere in February 1848.
Using their pen as their weapon of choice, they wrote defiantly newspapers, pamphlets, poems, books, slogan—in spite of strict censorship laws by the July Monarchy. They struggled for universal suffrage, women’s rights to education including, marital and labor reforms.
ATG: If you could change anything about collection development, what would it be?
JDF: I wish that the practice of collection development was not so inextricably linked to the institution’s budget—it ebbs and flows.
ATG: Who is your favorite author?
JDF: This is a hard question. I love any good book!
Leah was appointed Executive Director of the Charleston Conference in 2017, and has served in various roles with the Charleston Information Group, LLC, since 2004. Prior to working for the conference, she was Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions for the College of Charleston for four years. She lives in a small town near Columbia, SC, with her husband and two kids where they raise a menagerie of farm animals.