The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Karyle Butcher Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

May 8, 2014


“Cultivating Innovation as University Librarian”  May 8, 2014  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Butcher discusses her upbringing, her early interest in librarianship, and her decision to make the switch from public libraries to academic libraries, beginning with her first position at Oregon State University. She provides her recollections of the environment within the library when she initially arrived and describes the evolution in promotion and tenure requirements that came about over the course of her career. Throughout the session, she also notes her own development as an administrator and provides thoughts on her philosophies of communication and leadership.

Several noteworthy events in the history of the OSU Libraries are recounted over the length of the interview. Among them, Butcher recalls the response necessitated by a large mold outbreak in a collections storage facility, the fund raising and remodeling that transformed the Kerr Library into the Valley Library, the curation of the Valley Library's Northwest Art Collection, and the development of the library courtyard quotation project. She also reflects on the OSU Libraries' contribution to the university's land grant mission, with particular focus paid to the creation and growth of the Oregon Explorer digital library.

From there, Butcher discusses the radical changes in library technologies that she observed at OSU and details the back story behind the establishment of two endowed chairs within the OSU Libraries. The physical and administrative arrival of the University Archives and the OSU Press into the library are also recalled, as is the creation of the Library Advisory Council and Butcher's interactions with professional organizations. The interview concludes with Butcher's thoughts on her own civic engagement outside of the library world.