Pollitz: Donors drive Morris Library forward

SIU Dean of Library Affairs John Pollitz

There is no more central hub for SIU students than Morris Library, and John Pollitz plans to keep it that way.

“The library is a place to explore. It’s a place for curiosity,” said Pollitz, dean of library affairs. “Every student engages with the library. It has always been the place for students to gather and collaborate.”

Since taking over as dean in 2017, Pollitz has shared a forward-thinking vision for the library. With a focus on technology and innovation, he sees big things on the horizon.

“Students from every college and school utilize the library’s services,” he said. “It must be a one-stop shop where every student can access the information and technology they need to have a well-rounded educational experience.”

Through fundraising success, including money raised during recent Days of Giving, the library has added many technological improvements, including 3D printers, a podcasting booth, and a digital scanner.

More recently, Pollitz opened space in the library for the Digital Narratives Lab run by professor Pinckney Benedict. The 600 square-foot classroom in the library’s sixth floor offers students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with virtual reality, podcasting, Twitch streaming, and much more.

“The next step is providing an even larger, more advanced space where students can expand their horizons even further,” Pollitz said.

Library staff has already worked with architecture students to redesign a large chunk of the library’s first floor. The area where stacks of print reference guides currently sit would be transformed into the Digital Scholarship Commons.

“Our goal is to provide an area and equipment for students to collaborate as they design and create,” Pollitz said. “The are so many exciting, innovative projects to give to.”

The possibilities are many, from expanding VR and 3D printing to streaming services to podcasting to video game production and beyond.

“I have always wanted to move in this direction,” Pollitz said. “The library is named for SIU’s greatest visionary, Delyte Morris, and we must strive to further that vision.”

To support Morris Library, visit siuf.org/library.

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