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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Library dean recognized nationally

Carla Stoffle has come a long way from the makeshift library she patched together for children in Barbados more than 40 years ago.

A laundry list of life experiences as a world traveler, educator, humanitarian and librarian has earned her the role of dean of UA Libraries — a position she has held for the last two decades.

After countless hours and years of hard work, Stoffle will receive the Joseph W. Lippincott Award in Anaheim, Calif., this June.

The prestigious award, which was established in 1938, is given annually to an individual who has provided distinguished service to the profession of librarianship, according to the American Library Association’s website.

“I was a little stunned, because there are a lot of really good people in the library profession doing really good things,” Stoffle said. “It’s humbling that somebody looked at you and looked at others and said, ‘Well, we think maybe this time, you’re the worthy one.’”

Stoffle grew up in Pueblo, Colo., and attended the University of Colorado, where she married as an undergraduate student. Initially, she planned on getting a doctorate in history or geography. However, after a stint with the Peace Corps, her plans changed.

Stoffle and her husband joined the Peace Corps and lived in the West Indies for two years. While in Barbados, Stoffle taught a variety of subjects at a secondary school. However, she said her most memorable experience was putting books in the hands of children who did not normally have access to them.

She said the parents of some children at the school were wary of allowing their children to check out books from the public library for fear they would lose the books.

When Stoffle realized this, she grew determined to establish a library in the school. She contacted her sister, who rallied her sorority to help collect and mail books to Barbados. And the library was established.

“Now, kids at our school could check the books out and didn’t have to worry about having to replace them,” Stoffle said. “It put books in the hands of kids who didn’t have books and that made a big impression on me.”

This influenced her decision to enroll in library school after returning from the Peace Corps. Stoffle initially wanted to work in a general public library, but after she graduated, she took a job at Eastern Kentucky University. There, instead of waiting at a desk for students to come to her, Stoffle said she always tried to find ways to bring students in.

She came to the UA in 1991 after working at several other universities.

“Everything sort of worked toward coming here and being a dean at the University of Arizona,” Stoffle said. “I like the people and I like the opportunity to be involved and the environment the University of Arizona provides is really quite extraordinary.”

As dean of UA Libraries, Stoffle said she ensures the libraries are aligned with helping the campus achieve its goals.

“I think she is a very good dean,” said Roeland Hancock, a psychology graduate student and president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council. “She’s always made an effort to be very open and transparent with how the library is run. I think she’s done a really excellent job of providing the essential services of the library on a strained budget.”

Stoffle also said she focuses on using fiscal and human resources to maximize the resources available to the campus community.

“I have a great respect and admiration for Carla,” said Robyn Huff-Eibl, an access and information services team leader who works under Stoffle. “She has enabled the staff here to learn about new processes, to focus on our users and she has allowed us to receive training on process improvements so we can become efficient at the work we do.”

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