New Library Director, Mustafa Sakarya, Uses his Artistic Experience to Plan More Visual Learning

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

By Sierra Petro

Photo courtesy of Mustafa Sakarya

The new director of Purchase’s library, Mustafa Sakarya, is transitioning into his lead role on our campus with the help of his experience in the arts.

His job is to oversee the library and its entire operations by handling all issues related to its staff, resources and repository, physical space, facilities and its sharing of resources with other libraries.

The Phoenix sat down with Sakarya to learn what makes him a good fit for the college and what his current/future plans are for the campus’ information hub.

What art forms have you experimented with and how does this impact your understanding of Purchase students?

“I’ve done every kind of art form, starting with writing as a kid. I actually kept a daily journal from seventh grade until my first year of college. I’d have six pages devoted to the day I met my girlfriend. It was obsessive, but that writing led the way for me to become interested in literature and poetry. The one art form I still practice is spoken word poetry, which I perform at a venue in the city. I also have experience with film, extensive stencil work, acting, and African dance. I’ve touched so many forms of creativity that I feel like I get the head of the artist. At Purchase, I’m surrounded by all this art and all these artists, and I can utilize my strong grounding in librarianship, literature, and writing.”

What is new for you at Purchase from your prior role as the director of the library at Mercy College?

“I believe our students are incredible creators of knowledge, and those at the library owe it to them to store that material and make it available. Working with the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center, a library service that partners with faculty to adopt innovative teaching methods and technology to enhance learning, and working on developing the repository of Capstone projects are new and exciting experiences for me. This library enables me to bring a lot of my ideas around creativity to fruition, which I couldn’t do as the director at Mercy.”

What are some current and long-term projects you are working on?

“I’m very involved in the transition to Alma, the library’s cloud-based management system, which was just implemented into the library. This is an extremely complex system to maintain. A long-term project of mine is to explore how to make the library more inspiring and welcoming, whether that be cosmetically or structurally. I love the architecture, particularly the mezzanine, which reminds me of an artist’s loft. I think about the library as a three-dimensional research poster. It’s a place where students can display, explore, and work on research. I want to see how the space can be looked at in a different way so research and information can be three-dimensionalized, or visualized. This can be done with things like immersion rooms, or spaces students can walk into and see research multiple monitors on the wall. Students could, for example, walk into a World War II cemetery and understand every battle that was done visually with information about the names of people lost or the countries involved.”

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