Oakland University introduces a new dean of University Libraries


Polly Boruff-Jones becomes OU’s new dean of University Libraries.

Emily Morris, Managing Editor

Oakland University welcomes a new Dean of University Libraries, Polly Boruff-Jones. Kresge Library administration is a launching pad for academics, and Boruff-Jones is balancing improvements, OU’s roots and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Boruff-Jones has a trail of administration experience following her into her role at OU. She began her career as a business librarian at Old Dominion University in Virginia and continued branching out into various institutions with her most recent role at Indiana University (IU) Kokomo as their dean of Library. 

While at IU Kokomo, functionality and opportunity were at the base of their library. Boruff-Jones “championed” a renovation of their library — even so, her main focus was more personal — revolving around “the library’s role in supporting student success.” When she took a step back from IU Kokomo, she was ready for a new university to spread that message. 

“With the resources I had at Indiana University Kokomo, I had accomplished what I had set out to accomplish, and I left the place in good hands,” Boruff-Jones said. “I plan to be at Oakland for a while… for as long as I can be effective here.”

Upon setting foot on Oakland’s campus, she felt a familiarity that drew her here. The community resembled Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, where she had set some of the foundation of her library administration career (eight years in varied positions). 

“I like the size of the student body,” Boruff-Jones said. “It’s small enough that you can get to know people, but it’s large enough that there are lots of opportunities to do different things — that’s really what attracted me to Oakland.” 

She noted that OU “values research among the faculty and students as well as having a strong commitment to teaching.” This duality allowed her to have room for growth and continue to emphasize her mission to support students. 

As the campus community is becoming accustomed to the difficulties that COVID-19 has brought, Boruff-Jones had to rearrange her initial visualization of OU too. While she wanted to dive into strategic planning to better “research” and “teach,” student support — at a baseline level — was her first chapter at OU.  

“It’s been interesting,” she said. “To be honest, a lot of my energy and focus in the time that I’ve been here has been on reopening the library in a safe way for everybody.” 

Kresge Library is once again open for students and faculty, and Boruff-Jones intends on remaining flexible throughout the school year to keep everyone safe and work toward bigger goals. Although COVID-19 has skewed her timeframe at OU, she remains optimistic and comfortable as a Golden Grizzly. 

“To accomplish anything in an academic library one needs to be there for at least several years,” said Boruff-Jones.