Richard Lewis from Prescott College has been named associate dean of University Libraries and director of the University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia College Campus Library. He joined the University on Jan. 3.
Lewis is approaching his role with a “three campuses” mentality while also looking to understand the unique needs of each campus.
“I love this role because it forces my perspective to be constantly rotating between the three different entities,” Lewis said. “I aim to develop relationships with students, administration, faculty and staff in each of the schools and colleges. My mission is to better understand all the nuances and connect all the voices.”
“The importance is in knowing the details of where the situation is currently — to ask who are the voices that I am not hearing? — then seeking out the underrepresented.”
An inclusive approach
Lewis received his bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Washington and his master’s in Information Resources and Library Science from the University of Arizona. He went on to receive his interdisciplinary doctorate in Philosophy and Moral Sciences and in Media & Communications from the Free University of Brussels.
Lewis rejoins the UW from Prescott College where he has served as library director for more than nine years. A highlight of his time at Prescott was working to ensure database and electronic resources were accessible for all students.
“I aim to continue the work being done on the UW Bothell and Cascadia College campus toward making our library more equitable, from the material inventory to the library as space,” Lewis said. “I want to contribute with a fresh set of eyes to work already being done.”
As an approach, Lewis says he does not intend to work from the top down but rather will be “looking at what we’re doing and helping to reimagine other possibilities, then vetting those options with everybody involved.
“How can we as a library institution better serve student experiences? That’s what it all boils down to,” he said. “My mission is to move toward action and implementation when it comes to how we as an institution across the University and specifically at the UW Bothell and Cascadia College library do diversity, equity and inclusion work. We must walk our talk.”
People & technology
Lewis grew up in Lynnwood, Washington, and said he is happy to be back home. One of the passions he pursued here even as a teenager was understanding how humans relate to technology. He collects analog typewriters and fixes them up as a hobby, with more than 40 in his current collection.
Greater than his love for the human relationship to technology is his interest in human connection. He felt called back to the University because of how humans here relate to each other.
“My professional and personal mission here are one and the same: To contribute to a community where people can be themselves, and everyone can connect their passions to whatever it is they are doing.”