Rachel Sarachman, For The Miami Student


If you have ever received help on a paper at the Howe Writing Center, saved money on textbooks by using the OhioLINK database, or studied in the new B.E.S.T. Library you have Judith Sessions, dean of Miami’s libraries, to thank.

Sessions has served as the Dean of Miami’s libraries since 1988. She has been a member of the American Library Association Executive Board, a university librarian at California State University and assistant university librarian for administrative services at George Washington University.

Sessions has announced she will be retiring in December.

“When I think about it, I realize that I’ve spent a third of my life here,” Sessions said. “I think that’s what has helped me realize it’s time to go.”

Items on her retirement agenda include spending time at her newly purchased beach house in South Carolina and traveling the world on a yearlong cruise.

Since arriving at Miami in 1988, Sessions has completely re-vamped Miami’s libraries.

“When I first got here we were still using a card catalog system, the check-out system wasn’t automated yet,” Sessions said.

In addition to switching the library to an automated check-out system Sessions has also worked to implement the newest forms of technology and provide online access to the library so students can constantly access the resources.

Also during her time at Miami, Sessions has been involved with renovations of Miami’s libraries including King Library and the Art and Architecture library, as well as the creation of the B.E.S.T library and the Southwest Ohio Depository.

“My goal has always been to provide a comfortable place for students in the library,” Sessions said. “But I would say my crowning achievement is the national cooperation and success that has developed from the creation of the OhioLINK database.”

Sessions played a large role in the creation of OhioLINK, an online database that connects students and faculty to about 49.5 million books and other library materials for free.

Taylor Seitz, a senior fashion design major who frequently uses OhioLINK to combat the high prices of textbooks, said she is extremely thankful for Sessions’ hard work to create the database.

“College is expensive, so it’s really nice that I can get my books through OhioLINK,” Seitz said. “Now I have one less expense to worry about.”

Sessions has also had many other accomplishments during her career including winning the Distinguished Service Award from the American Library Association and Miami’s Distinguished Service Award. She has also had the opportunity to travel internationally to countries like China, Russia, South Korea and Ghana for various lectures and projects.

Glenn Platt, professor of marketing and director of the Armstrong Interactive Media Studies Program, was one of the nominators for Sessions’ Distinguished Service Award at Miami.

“Judith can see how policy, resources, and curriculum impact our students in a way that few other administrators can,” Platt said. “She is empathetic to needs of students and visionary about what the university needs to do in order to serve them.”

In addition to her many achievements, after working very closely with students for 25 years, Sessions will walk away with a plethora of entertaining memories.

Sessions said one day a girl came into her office saying a man was sniffing her feet. Evidently, the girl had been studying in a cubicle when the man across from her began sniffing her feet. Sessions ended up chasing the man away so the girl could study in peace,

“Apparently he had a real foot fetish,” Sessions joked.

As of now there is not a replacement in line for Sessions. In the coming weeks the provost will name a search committee to name a new Dean of Miami’s Libraries.