Earlier this year, Mark Vargas joined the leadership at St. Cloud State University (SCSU) as Dean of the Library, in the James W. Miller Learning Resources Center. Dean Vargas was drawn to SCSU because he recognized the potential to build upon the existing strengths of the Library in support of the University’s strategic plans stating, “We are a reflection of the University. It is important for the Library to show how it aligns with institutional goals and objectives; demonstrating our impact on the success of the students and faculty across campus is essential.” Dean Vargas’ number one priority is to meet the needs of students and faculty in this ever changing and dynamic educational environment. “All libraries are dealing with the complexities of the digital age. Many opportunities exist to collaborate with colleagues, other departments, institutions and so on; the list is endless. The challenge is to zero in on what is feasible, given the availability of finite resources.” When asked about his managerial style he replied, “I have an innate optimism, about how people want to do work. I believe there is power in showing people appreciation and respect. I want to provide the necessary resources and then get out of the way, to allow them to excel at their jobs.”
Born and raised in Gary Indiana, it was his experience as a steel mill worker, after high school, that influenced his decision to enroll in college. Dean Vargas’ interest in history, and experiences as a student volunteer in Archives, at Indiana University Northwest that led to the completion of a Bachelor of Arts in History; and later his Masters in both Library Science and History from the University of Maryland, Archives. Since then, Dean Vargas has worked at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT,) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma-Chickasha, and Saint Xavier University-Chicago.
Dean Vargas graciously took time out of his busy schedule to meet with CMLE staff this week. And, we encourage other member libraries to take a moment and, in turn, welcome him to Central Minnesota! The Dean of the Library currently serves as an ex-officio member on the Governing Board for Central MN Libraries Exchange (CMLE.) In that capacity, Dean Vargas, welcomes collaboration and participation in programming; freely offering the Library as centralized facility for regional meeting and events, “I want to build a relationship between our Library and all CMLE member library types-their patrons/users are our current and future students.”