Kathy Webb

Written By Elisabeth Spector '18

Though you may not know her by name, there’s a good chance that Kathy Webb’s efforts are the reason you were able to finish your research paper. Kathy Webb is the longest-standing Dean of the University Libraries, and oversees the Roesch Library, Marian Library, University Archives, and Special Collections. Webb is a public service-oriented leader who is dedicated to supporting the faculty and students on UD’s campus. It is her efforts that have made the university libraries one of the most popular places on campus.

In 1984, Webb was working in Washington D.C. as a fundraiser for various non-profit organizations. It was through this work and this research that she discovered her interest in information seeking. Yearning for more, she moved out to California and attended graduate school at the University of California – Los Angeles. In 1991, Webb graduated with her Masters in Library Sciences and imagined she would work for a large information company, but her path took a turn when she moved to Dayton.

After working in various librarian positions, Webb’s neighbor suggested she apply for an open position at the University of Dayton. That neighbor soon turned into her boss when Webb came to the University in 1993. She held a number of different roles in the university libraries and in 2006 Webb became the Dean of University Libraries. It is her dedication and her love of the ebb and flow of academic life that have kept her in this position for over a decade.

Since coming to UD, Webb has served on the committee for Stander Symposium, on numerous search committees for new faculty and staff, and has overseen many significant transitions. She worked closely to help transition the new student orientation to the student-led orientation that it is today and was instrumental in implementing new spaces to create an environment more conducive to students’ learning. Webb is most proud of how the libraries have evolved to become more strategic about their work. With her guidance, the faculty and staff of the university libraries have a new, shared sense of strategy that allows them to prioritize their resources to develop and grow the libraries.

Webb desires that this library growth would extend beyond the confines of the library walls. She imagines a central space on campus for the Marian Library, the library’s special collections, art galleries, and the archives. It is these lesser-known parts of the library that are what Webb believes make UD’s libraries unique, and she wants to bring them to the forefront of student’s minds.

Webb’s commitment to the university is tenacious, as she encourages her staff to seek ways to infuse the libraries with a sense of fun, something that may seem counterintuitive for the students who go there in a last-minute rush to finish a research paper. But it is through the little things, like the library’s social media account, “Roeschella”, or the events during finals week that these efforts become clear. Webb has led a team that has transformed the libraries into somewhere students want to come to, a seemingly impossible feat. At a university, libraries and the sharing of information are the cornerstones of the institution; we owe much of UD’s success to Kathy Webb.