iSchool and UW-Madison Libraries expand partnership with new CDIS building on the horizon

The Information School (iSchool) and UW-Madison Libraries will collaborate more closely than ever to prepare the next generation of information professionals and shape the future of the university’s dynamic library ecosystem.

The partnership’s expansion comes as the iSchool prepares to occupy a new home in the pathbreaking $260 million School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences (CDIS) building, which will open in 2025. There are two primary facets of the newly invigorated alliance:

  • Dean of Libraries joins iSchool faculty: Erla P. Heyns, Dean and Vice Provost of Libraries at UW-Madison, will serve as a Professor of Practice at the iSchool. Heyns is the first leader of UW-Madison Libraries to ever hold a faculty appointment at the iSchool, and she is the first Professor of Practice to be appointed within CDIS. Her wealth of experience will enrich the academic environment, closing the gap between library administration and education. Before coming to Madison in fall 2023, Heyns had served as associate professor and associate dean for learning at Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies since 2016. She has also held roles at Cornell University as the director of the Flower/Sprecher Veterinary Library and the coordinator for the engineering, math and physical sciences libraries, and at Indiana University as the head of the university’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation Library.
  • Transition to the CDIS Commons: The iSchool is working directly with UW-Madison Libraries on multiple aspects of the transition to the new CDIS building. First, UW-Madison Libraries will assist the search for a director of the CDIS Commons, a cutting-edge collaborative space in the new building, envisioned as a “library of the future”. Carrie Kruse, Director of College Library, User Experience, and Library Spaces, will play a pivotal role in the search. Additionally, UW Libraries will help facilitate a seamless transition for staff, services, and materials from the current iSchool Library to the new space. That process will include careful relocation of historical documents, which serve as important primary source material for researchers, from the iSchool Library to a climate-controlled office, ensuring proper preservation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dean Heyns to our faculty,” said iSchool Professor and Director Alan Rubel. “Our strengthened partnership with UW-Madison Libraries will be invaluable as we transition to the new building, and we look forward to collaborations that will benefit iSchool students, faculty, and staff—and the wider UW-Madison community—far into the future.”

The iSchool will sustain its partnership with UW-Madison Libraries even after the CDIS building opens. One long-term goal for all parties is to ensure outstanding, accessible library services for students and faculty throughout the UW-Madison community. Another related goal is to create greater cohesion of services across more than 30 campus libraries.

“I am delighted to be working with the iSchool to foster a unified library community on our campus.” Heyns said. “By bringing together the iSchool’s strengths in education and research with UW-Libraries’ experience and expertise in successfully founding and operating libraries, this partnership will empower students and researchers to make the most of these cherished spaces.”

UW-Libraries and the iSchool have worked closely together in the past, but the new developments represent a substantially deepened commitment for the two institutions to work together. The partnership exemplifies efforts underway across CDIS to build cross-campus collaborations for the good of the university, the state of Wisconsin, and beyond.

Learn more about Dean and Vice Provost of Libraries Erla Heyns from UW-Madison News.

Read more about how the new CDIS building will serve the iSchool community.