Alea Henle joined the University Libraries in March as head of the newly-created Access & Borrow department.
Where are you originally from? What’s your educational background?
Ohio-born & (mostly) raised. I’m what is sometimes called a “faculty” brat, as my father taught mathematics at Oberlin for decades. I have a BA from the College of Wooster, an MLS from Simmons College, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Connecticut.
What’s your title? How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries?
I’m the head of the newly created Access & Borrow department. As such, I’m working to build cross-awareness within the department and libraries about the ways the department supports students, staff, and faculty access to the resources, materials, and spaces they need to conduct research.
What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?
I’ve been a librarian for decades because working in libraries is a great way to spend most of one’s life there, which I was doing even beforehand. As a child, I was a constant visitor and avid reader (some things don’t change!) and started working in libraries in college (a traditional route). I accepted the position at Miami because the job description interested me and offered the kinds of challenges I was interested in, and the university has a solid reputation.
What’s the best part of working in a library?
There is no one best part, rather there are so many it’s impossible to choose – the people! the resources! the air of inquiry!
What’s one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?
I’m not good at picking one of most things. That said, I wish college students knew just how much we’re here to help and just how much help we can offer. It’s always bittersweet when students realize late in their studies that they could have had this assistance all along.
What are you most excited about tackling in your new role?
The variety of challenges before us.
What’s your favorite book? What book character would you most like to be?
I own somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-5k books and you want me to pick one favorite? Nope, not happening. While I used to daydream myself into books, I don’t do that much anymore. I’m more interested in writing them because then all the characters are mine (even the ones I’d rather weren’t).
Reading (no surprise), walking my dog all around Miami and exploring the various parks and byways, and writing both fiction and non-fiction.
What’s something people don’t know about you that might surprise them?
Hmm, also a hard question. How about how widely I’ve lived in the US – I’ve gotten new state driver’s licenses 10 times and only the tenth was a repeat (Ohio!).