Scott Silet supervises the libraries at UWM at Waukesha and UWM at Washington County, the two new branches added to UWM in 2018 as a result of UW System restructuring. Silet has a deep understanding of the needs of students at the branch campuses, having served as the library director of UW Waukesha for 15 years. His new title is assistant director of libraries for the College of General Studies. Previously he was digital services librarian and instruction and public services librarian at the University of Virginia. He earned his MLIS from Indiana University Bloomington. We asked Silet about the merger and the two libraries he manages.
Q: UWM at Waukesha Library and UWM at Washington County Library fully merged with the UWM Libraries on July 1, 2019. What has been the impact of the merger on students at the two branches?
There are many aspects of the merger that will significantly benefit branch users including 24/7 chat service, expanded online library collections, and improved access to specialized services and collections at the UWM main campus. Branch users will continue to enjoy high-quality research and instruction services from librarians at the Waukesha and West Bend campuses.
Q: Talk a little bit about the staff at the two libraries.
The branch libraries staff help support the teaching, research, and outreach mission of the College of General Studies (CGS). We maintain active information literacy programs that support curricular research across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Branch library staff are generalists who work in a variety of different roles, and we are excited to work more closely with the talented staff at the Golda Meir Library.
Q: What kinds of students do the branches support?
The Waukesha and Washington County libraries provide curricular and research assistance to the first and second-year students enrolled in our associate’s degree—which is new to UWM. The branches provide a quality, affordable education for a unique demographic. Many of the students are placebound or first-generation college students.
Q: What are some short-term goals?
We anticipate working more closely with the Golda Meir Library on a couple of important initiatives in the next year or two: with the UWM Archives to raise the profile of the branch campus archival collections, with Digital Collections and Initiatives to transition the CGS student research journal to the main campus, and also with library departmental contacts to help support the proposed nursing degree, which is tentatively scheduled to start on the branch campuses in the fall of 2020.[Read more about the UWM Libraries’ contributions to student success, research excellence, and community engagement in the Libraries’ 2018-2019 Annual Report.]