The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 1st

Librarian Brings Experience to Post

Philip Vandermeer, the new librarian at the Hill Hall music library, will use the bond money to expand the library's outreach.

Tuesday was Vandermeer's first day in Hill Hall as the head librarian of the music library, and familiarizing himself with one of the nation's largest music collections has proved to be a daunting task.

"This is really one of the best collections in the U.S.," Vandermeer said. "I was looking for some new challenges. It just seemed to be the right job at the right time."

Vandermeer brings 17 years of experience as a music librarian to the post but said he is letting the feedback of his coworkers dictate his agenda. "I suppose in terms of my personal priorities, it's getting to know the faculty ... what their needs are," he said. "Now that we're fully staffed, we can move full steam. What I need to do now is hear the opinions of people who use the facilities."

In a library where priceless musical documents are housed in a basement that frequently floods, Vandermeer recognizes the importance of making sure the valuables are in good hands. Since he took office a year ago, Chancellor James Moeser has strongly supported upgrading the music department's resources and facilities. "I know the chancellor is very concerned about keeping this collection safe," Vandermeer said.

But Vandermeer said he has more long-term goals for the facility. Brainstorming ideas for the planned $19 million music library project -- funded by the state bond referendum passed last November -- are at the top of his list.

One thing Vandermeer would like to see is a building that can pick up where the present music library leaves off, such as delivering digitized sound in efficient ways. "We're going to need a facility that's going to facilitate that new way of doing things," he said.

During his 13 years as head music librarian at the University of Maryland, Vandermeer helped create a new performing arts library for the institution.

And Diane Steinhaus, public services librarian who acted as head librarian for about a year, said this made Vandermeer a prime candidate for the post. "I know because of the bond package there was a lot of concern of someone having experience building a new music library," she said.

Steinhaus said Vandermeer has the ability to expand the library's outreach. "The whole staff is very excited he's here."

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