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Carol Hixson
Dean of University Libraries

Florida Atlantic University
Wimberly Library, LY 232
777 Glades Road
P.O Box 3092
Boca Raton, FL 33431 
Dean's Blog

Tel:   561-297-3717
Fax:  561-297-2189

Welcome Message from Dean Carol Hixson, Spring 2020

Evolving Library Vision

Posted on  January 20, 2020

Welcome, everyone, to a new semester of promise and opportunity!

As the spring 2020 semester at FAU gets underway, the Libraries are embarking on a journey of renewal and exciting change.

To guide us on our path, we recently completed a new round of strategic planning that brought our core values and services into sharper focus. Our 2020-2023 mission and strategic goals reconfirmed our commitment to being leaders, bridge builders, and innovators.

One of our seven strategic goals is to “Collaborate with university and community partners to foster technological innovation in service to the University’s mission.” Libraries have long been early adopters of technology, utilizing it to expand access to library collections and services. This year, we will be testing a number of new approaches to traditional services, including developing sensors to track temperature throughout the Wimberly Library so that students can find a spot that will be comfortable for them in the hours that they spend working in the library. We are also working to develop chatbots to expand access to on-demand services beyond the hours when staff are available to guide students, or when the number of people looking for help exceeds our staffing, or when someone simply prefers to investigate things on their own without having to ask a person for help.

We are also expanding access to new technologies, ensuring that all students, regardless of disciplinary focus, have access to cutting edge tools to help them be successful in their academic and post graduation careers. On January 23, 2020, we hosted our first Tech Showcase in the Wimberly Library, where the campus community was encouraged to stop by the Wimberly Library lobby to meet our tech experts and see what innovative technology we already have at the library, as well as provide feedback on what is of interest for the future. Staples was also onsite showing off some of the latest  laptops, desktops, VR headsets, 3-D printers and more.

Our commitment to enhancing the lives of FAU students through access to innovative technology is currently manifested through the GIS Corner and the Portal.


Virtual reality experimentation in The Portal

The Portal, opened in the summer of 2019, is located on the first floor of the Wimberly Library and makes augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) available to the FAU community.  The primary setup includes four workstations equipped with Magic Leap One, HTC Vive Eye Pro and Oculus Quest technology.  Hours of operation are currently limited to four hours a day, Monday through Friday, but we are working to expand staffing and hours of operation and to make the service more widely known.

The biggest investment of the libraries in technology that can change the lives of FAU's students and faculty is evident in the Gruber Sandbox. Opening in mid-arch 2020, the Rubin and Cindy Gruber Sandbox will enable students from all disciplines and all levels (high school up through Ph.D.) to discover how artificial intelligence can help them achieve their dreams and enhance their research. Unlike other spaces being developed elsewhere on campus, the Sandbox is not limited to students in a specific College or degree program. The Sandbox, the brainchild of College of Science faculty members Elan Barenholtz and William Hahn, has been planned by them and the Libraries to transcend any single discipline and to make possible continuous collaboration and cross-pollination. The projects undertaken will be student-riven, with the guides of rs. Barneholtz and Hahn, the Libraries, the University, and other community partners. The Sandbox is foundational to FAU's ability to achieve its vision as a leader and institution of distinction in artificial intelligence. 

The libraries have also made a renewed commitment to play a "leadership role in promoting diversity and inclusion for the Libraries' patrons and staff." This is achieved through continuous programming, such as the coming exhibit for Black History month that will feature multi-media selections of Africian-American blues greats from the Libraries' Recorded Sound Archives. In April, the Libraries wil be hosting its annual Human Library event, part of an international effort to help people learn about different world views and life experiences and develop greater tolerance and appreciation for those differences. In this event, individuals from different backgrounds are invited to serve at "human books" and share their experiences with students and community members so that participants may learn to to "unjudge someone."


Participants in the 2019 Human Library event

The Libraries will continue to innovate, stretch boundaries, and strive to improve what we do and how we do it in our commitment to “Champion student success through alignment with the University’s research and instructional mission.” In December of 2019, we partnered with the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute to host a pre-lecture meet-and-greet reception featuring Jon Meacham, presidential historian and Pulitzer-Prize winning author.


Dr. Howard Weiner, Jon Meacham, Judy Weiner, Dean Michael Horswell, Dean Carol Hixson at the reception in the Spirit of America suite on December 15, 2019

We strive to support research and scholarship through hosting lectures and scholarly presentations, as well as by partnering with other campus units such as the Division of Research. On January 22, 2020, we are hosting the next installment of the Division of Research's new Research Cafe Series. On January 30, 2020, we are sponsoring and hosting Dr. Adrian O'Connor, distinguished associate professor of history from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, for a presentation highlighting some of the constitutional and institutional measures by which revolutionaries sought to make civil society sustainable, commercial society civil, and political society possible. 

The Libraries are the place to meet up, explore new approaches, engage in research, and expand your horizons at FAU. Come join us and partner with us.


Students studying on the first floor of the Wimberly Library

Carol Hixson, M.S.
Dean of University Libraries
Florida Atlantic University

Dean of University Libraries

Dean Carol Hixson has been a professional librarian since 1984, earning her Master of Science in Information Studies from Drexel University that year. She has worked in some of the best academic research libraries in North America as a paraprofessional and librarian, including Cornell University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Florida, Indiana University, UCLA, and the University of Oregon. Immediately prior to joining FAU in August 2015, she served as the Dean of Library at USF St. Petersburg for six years and as the University Librarian (dean) at the University of Regina in Canada for three years.

Dean Hixson has a lifelong interest in other cultures and points of view, as attested to by her bachelor’s degree with honors in Spanish language and literature from Grinnell College, as well as her study of five other foreign languages. She loves to travel and have conversations with people in all parts of the world and has combined her love of other cultures with her profession by conducting a series of workshops on digital libraries and the open access movement in Spain a few years ago, as well as a recent webinar in Spanish for the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services.

As a librarian, Dean Hixson has always been devoted to serving diverse populations and to increasing access to information for all members of the communities of which she has been a part. This dedication has led her to spearhead the development of digital collections at the University of Oregon, the University of Regina, and at USF St. Petersburg. Using digital technology to open up access to primary source materials that would otherwise be accessible only to a handful of people is one of her passions. She also believes that digital collections serve as a means of developing or enhancing partnerships between the university and the broader community. Community engagement is another of her passions.

At FAU, Dean Hixson plans to continue the work she started at USF St. Petersburg to build a suite of library services designed to enhance the student experience by working closely with students, faculty, and the broader community. This will include hosting a wide variety of both fun and educational events for students, such as visits of Therapy Dogs International (visits 3-5 times a year at USFSP since December 2012), an annual Graduate Students Reception, an annual Halloween Costume Contest, Student Research Colloquia, and a variety of talks and exhibits featuring local artists, museums, and cultural organizations. Building on her experience redesigning the library at USFSP, Dean Hixson will also be leading the redesign of the physical space of the FAU Libraries to make them more inviting, functional, and conducive to collaboration. She will also be working to develop a broader range of services to support FAU’s wonderfully diverse student population. She invites all students and faculty of FAU to share their ideas and suggestions with her and tell her what is working and what needs improvement.

Current Projects and Research Interests

  • Academic Library Space Redesign as a Reflection of Changing Student Needs
  • Community/University Partnerships to Enhance Higher Education
  • Supporting Faculty and Student Research through Open Access Digital Collections
  • The Academic Library’s Role in Student Recruitment and Retention
  • Library Services to Diverse Populations

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Library Leadership in a Digital Age Institute, Harvard University (Selected in 2013).
  • Frye Leadership Institute, Educause and CLIR (Selected in 2012)
  • Corrigan Solari Faculty Fellowship Award (2004) for being a “model of a 21st century librarian who represents the best in team building and barrier demolishing.”
  • COLT/Library Mosaics Outstanding Supporter of Support Staff Award (2002 Nomination)
  • Beta Phi Mu (elected 1985)
  • U.S. Department of Education Fellowship, full tuition and stipend, for pursuit of Master’s Degree at Drexel University (1983/1984)
  • Phi Beta Kappa (elected 1977)


Contact Information

Mail: Dean of University Libraries, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431


Phone: (561) 297-3717