New University Libraries Dean Lorenzen: Glad to be Back in Midwest
August 21, 2013
MACOMB, IL -- For Michael Lorenzen, moving back to the Midwest brought a welcome change to his family of four. The new Western Illinois University Libraries' dean, who is originally from Ohio, left his post as associate dean for public services at Western Washington University and took the helm of Western's libraries, effective July 15.
"The west coast is beautiful, but it's expensive and it's not home. I very much prefer being here, closer to family. I like the cornfields and the flat earth. I guess it makes me feel reassured," he noted with a smile.
As head of University Libraries, Lorenzen will spend the next few months getting to know the faculty and staff of WIU's library system, which includes the main building, the Leslie F. Malpass Library, as well as the curriculum, music, physical sciences and WIU-Quad Cities branches.
"Over the next couple of months, I plan to talk to everyone who works in the libraries, and I'm also talking a lot with campus constituents—with faculty, department chairs, and deans—to hear what people want from the libraries. I don't foresee any radical changes. We're going to keep our basic core mission, and we're going to look for new ways to cooperate with other libraries, within our consortia and around the country, so we can share resources. I would like to do more with the local public library, too."
According to Lorenzen, there's no better place to work than in an academic library, which is where he was inspired to become a librarian.
"I'm first-generation college in my family, and as undergraduate student, I worked at the library of Bowling Green State University. I really gained an appreciation for libraries there," he explained. "My parents were supportive of me going to college, but they had no idea what it was like. Back then, having librarians on a daily basis to advise me, I think that got me through college. At that point, even though my undergraduate major was in philosophy, I decided I was going to go to library school and get a graduate degree in library science."
In addition to working in libraries his entire career, Lorenzen has spent a good deal of his professional life working on his scholarship. He has authored approximately 30 publications, much of it covering information literacy and topics pertinent to library administration. In 2008, he was honored with the Michigan Library Association's Information Literacy Award.
Lorenzen earned an Ed.D. from Central Michigan University and an educational specialist degree from Michigan State University. He obtained a master's of education (higher education) from Ohio University; a master's of library science from Kent State University; and his bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. He resides in Macomb with his wife and two sons.