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June 17, 2003

Purdue's Mobley retires as dean, to continue work in libraries

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Emily Mobley is stepping down as dean of Purdue University Libraries to begin partial retirement, effective Jan. 9.

Emily Mobley

Mobley, the Esther Ellis Norton Distinguished Professor of Library Science, started at Purdue in 1986 as the associate director of libraries. She was named Purdue's first dean of libraries in 1989. After stepping down as dean, she will remain at the university to work part time on a variety of special library projects.

"Dean Mobley has been the driving force in enhancing Purdue Libraries and its collections for almost 15 years," said Purdue President Martin C. Jischke. "Most recently she has overseen the creation of the Digital Learning Collaboratory, a place where students can develop multimedia projects. She also has brought Purdue Libraries to a position where it can continue to grow and utilize the most current technology to adapt to the university's needs."

Provost Sally Mason said Mobley played a crucial role in making Purdue Special Collections home to the largest Amelia Earhart collection.

"She also has left her imprint on Purdue's largest library, the Humanities, Social Science & Education Library, by leading a two-year renovation and modernization," Mason said. "Through her vision and leadership, she kept technology at the heart of this library, with a new electronic reference center that helps students hone their electronic research skills."

During her tenure as dean, Mobley also directed funds to help the English department bring a literary leader to speak on campus each spring semester, Mason said.

Purdue Libraries has more than 2.3 million volumes in 14 libraries on campus.

"During the last two decades, libraries in higher education have evolved to more interactive information centers," Mobley said. "A university library is no longer a place where you simply read books or ponder great works. Long gone are the days of purchasing library materials and placing them on the shelves. The library is so much more complex today because of the use of electronic materials and an increase in group- and problem-based learning, as well as the need to understand copyright issues and information policy.

"This was a difficult decision to make at this time because Purdue Libraries have experienced so much support under President Jischke's and Provost Mason's leadership."

Prior to coming to Purdue, Mobley was library director with General Motors Institute. She also served in library administration at Wayne State University, General Motors Research Laboratories and Chrysler Corp. In 1988 she was a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Library of Congress. Mobley also is past president of the Special Libraries Association and was a member of the board of directors for the Association of Research Libraries, as well as numerous committees in other professional associations. She serves on visiting committees for the Carnegie Mellon Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She completed her undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Michigan.

A national search will begin immediately for a replacement.

Writer: Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723,

Sources: Martin C. Jischke, (765) 494-9708

Sally Mason, (765) 494-9709,

Emily Mobley, (765) 494-2900,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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