After more than a decade with the Dal Libraries, Dr. Heather MacFadyen will be retiring on June 30, 2022. Heather’s career with the Dal Libraries began in 2011 when she was hired as a School of Information Management graduate intern. Upon completion of the MLIS degree, she was appointed as a Reference & Instruction Librarian with the Dal Libraries, with liaison responsibilities in Economics, Business, and Information Management. The position quickly evolved into Scholarly Communications & Reference Librarian, in which Heather provided leadership in promoting open access, institutional repositories, and author rights.
Appointed Collections Strategy Librarian in July 2014, Heather excelled in acquisitions budget modelling and evidence-based collections data analysis. She assembled and analyzed masses of journal data for a review conducted by the Libraries’ System-wide Electronic Access Fund (EAF) Working Group. Her visits to faculty councils across campus to inform them about the Libraries’ budget allocation formula led to greater faculty awareness of the fiscal challenge of scholarly publishing price increases. Heather was instrumental in planning, delivering a survey database, and analyzing data during the Libraries’ Journal Fair Price Unbundling project of 2017–18, a campus-wide survey of faculty usage of packaged electronic journals. She presented multiple presentations across campus to faculty committees to alert them to the increasing cost of “Big Deal” journal packages and to encourage them to participate in the survey.
Heather developed a way to calculate the impact of the exchange rate on the system-wide electronic resource budget, which led to the opportunity to seek US dollar reconciliation funds from the university. For the past eight years, this has allowed the Libraries to obtain total rebates of more than $8.7 million — a significant sum that has made it possible for the Libraries to avoid large-scale cancellations and purchase monographs that otherwise would have been out of reach financially.
In addition to leading major Resources initiatives, she also coordinated the work of three Resources managers and a team of more than 20 staff. In this capacity, she encouraged ongoing training and development to build staff skills in the unit and prepare team members for new opportunities in the Libraries.
During the acquisitions challenges experienced during the pandemic-related move to online teaching, Heather also played a central role in organizing the streaming video order processes that allowed the Libraries to respond to the demand for online curricular video resources.
In the short span of a decade, Heather has also made valuable contributions through her service on a variety of committees, including the Libraries’ Scholarly Resources Management Group, User Experience & Assessment Committee, Digital Scholarship Initiatives Committee, Resources LibAnalytics Working Group, the Dal Libraries Strategic Planning Committee (2015-18 plan), Library Council, and the Killam Travel Committee. She served on both the Killam and MacRae Appointments Committees, as well as serving on Search Committees. Heather also represented the Dean of Libraries on the Faculty of Graduate Studies Faculty Council and on the Academic Programs & Curriculum Committee. She represented Dalhousie and contributed to the profession nationally and regionally through her participation on the U15 Ad Hoc Modifying Acquisition Practices Group, the Council of Atlantic University Libraries Collections Committee, and the Novanet Demand Driven Acquisition (DDA) Collections Subcommittee.
During her tenure with the Libraries, Heather has also conducted scholarly research on historical public reading practices, including work related to Eliza Ritchie’s book collection and the Dalhousie-affiliated Patterson Travelling Library.
Organized, analytical, and a skilled problem-solver, Heather has earned the respect of the Resources team for her clear-sighted planning and proficiency in project management. Colleagues value her data analysis skills and her ability to quickly size up a problem and identify potential solutions. Her diplomacy and tact have won the admiration of colleagues, faculty, and library donors. We thank Heather for her dedicated service to the Dal Libraries, the university, and the larger library community and wish her well as she enters retirement.