Interview with Paul Willis, November 21, 2016

Project: Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Paul Willis was the Director of Libraries at the University of Kentucky from 1973 to 2002 and the Dean of Libraries at the University of South Carolina from 2002 to 2007. In this interview, he talks about how he became interested in the field of librarianship. He gives a brief overview of his career, from his education at the University of Kentucky, to his work with the Library of Congress and NASA, and his later career at UK and the University of South Carolina. He talks about how he became interested in law librarianship. Willis talks about his decision to take the position as Director of Libraries at the University of Kentucky and discusses the challenges he faced during his transition into the position.

Willis talks about his reliance on ASERL and other professional groups during his early years as library director to learn best practices and find mentors. He talks about the differences between various professional groups. He talks about a resource sharing project he worked on in cooperation with the directors at Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee. Willis talks about an idea he collaborated on for a virtual shared storage system. He talks about how the idea came about and his involvement with it. He talks about some of the issues that make libraries or their administrators wary of joining consortia or creating collaborative projects. He talks about how regional consortia differ from larger consortial groups. Willis talks about the benefits of participating in consortial groups, including learning best practices, increased political clout, and the opportunity for better training and other resources that would be too costly for one institution to create on their own.

Willis talks about what he sees as his greatest accomplishments throughout his career. He talks about his work to implement promotion/tenure standards at the University of Kentucky, but focuses most of his discussion on his work in public/donor relations. He talks about the importance of creating relationships between the library and potential donors, and gives many specific examples of his own work cultivating relationships with donors.

Interview Accession

2016oh429_aserl010

Interviewee Name

Paul Willis

Interviewer Name

Jennifer Schatz Bartlett

Interview Date

2016-11-21

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Willis, Paul Interview by Jennifer Schatz Bartlett. 21 Nov. 2016. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Willis, P. (2016, November 21). Interview by J. S. Bartlett. Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Willis, Paul, interview by Jennifer Schatz Bartlett. November 21, 2016, Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7ttd9n6231


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