Tom Peters Announces His Retirement

Tom Peters Announces His Retirement

Tom Peters loads the truck for the Smithsonian Folklife FestivalTom Peters, Dean of Library Services at Missouri State University in Springfield, announced today that he plans to retire at the end of December 2024. 

Peters will have served the university and the region for over twelve years, beginning in August 2012. During his time at MSU, several major things have been accomplished:  

  • First FOLIO: In the spring of 2020, during the first months of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Missouri State University Library became the first library in the world to fully implement FOLIO, a new, open-source integrated library system, which has since been adopted by the Library of Congress, the National Library of Australia, MOBIUS, and many other libraries and library consortia around the world. MSU was the first. 
  • Ozarks Studies Institute: Several years ago the MSU Libraries took over the management and leadership of this longstanding institute at MSU. The OzarksWatch magazine is back on a regular publication schedule, edited by Susan Croce Kelly, and a book series on various topics related to the Ozarks was started, edited by Rachel Kersey. Numerous oral history projects have been completed, as well as many Ozarks-related digitization projects.
  • MSU Testing Center: During Peters’ time as a Bear, the MSU Testing Center was consolidated and moved to the Lower Level of Duane G. Meyer Library, under the leadership and direction of Sue McCrory. More testing providers and seats were added, equipment has been upgraded, and accommodated testing has been improved. 
  • Renovation of Meyer Library: In an ongoing effort, Peters initiated and sustained a major refreshment of the spaces in Duane G. Meyer Library. New furnishings and carpeting, an upgraded wi-fi network, more power outlets, and newly repurposed areas, including the distinctive Ozarks Room, have been implemented. 
  • Managed the MSU Libraries during the Global COVID-19 Pandemic: In the spring of 2020, as the pandemic severely affected the lives of everyone, the MSU Libraries took bold steps to support the ongoing work of teaching, learning, research, and service at the university. We used our 3D printers to make hundreds of PPE’s (Personal Protective Equipment) at a time of critical need. We made long-term loans of portable computers and mobile hotspots to students, faculty, and staff as they sheltered in place and worked remotely. 
  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Served as the lead organization in the multi-state Ozarks Region to plan and execute the Ozarks Program at the 2023 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, held in late June and early July on the National Mall in DC. The Ozarks Program was a big success, with over 625,000 visitors during the ten days of the festival, and over 2.2 million social media impressions during the summer months alone. 
  • New Labs: Several exciting new labs have been created in Duane G. Meyer, including the Digitization Lab, for digitizing locally held materials, such as the Bryan T. E. Bisney Jubilee collection and the Jubilee Backstage collection, the Innovation Lab, including 3D printers, virtual reality equipment and systems, drones, and much more, a Vocal Booth for making podcasts and music demos, a one-button studio for making videos, and the forthcoming Digital Humanities Lab. 
  • Outreach and Development: For several years now the MSU Libraries has received over $2 million annually in gifts from generous donors and supporters. 
  • Major Special Collections: During Peters’ time at MSU several major collections have been acquired, including:
    • The Pete and Sara Morgan Collection of Military Patches and Insignia
    • The Gordon McCann Collection of Ozarks Music
    • The Payton Collection of Ozarkiana
    • The Bryan T. E. Bisney Ozark Jubilee Collection
    • The Ozark Jubilee Kinescope Collection
  • Streamlining Efforts: During Peters’ time at MSU, he closed the Mountain Grove campus library, which was receiving almost no use, consolidated service points within the main Duane G. Meyer Library, and implemented other measures to streamline and improve library operations, and to position the MSU Libraries for continued success. 
  • Increased collaboration with other cultural memory institutions active in the region, including the Springfield-Greene County Library District, the History Museum on the Square, the State Historical Society of Missouri, the Missouri Humanities Council, the National Park Service, and many others. 

Although his retirement will take effect on December 31st, his final day at work will be Tuesday, November 26th, heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Per Tom’s request, no retirement reception is planned, but he would be happy to get together with friends and colleagues for coffee and conversation. 

In his retirement, Tom plans to travel, spend time with family and friends, garden, and read and write (but no ‘rithmetic). He plans to reside primarily in tiny McClurg, Missouri, in extreme northeast Taney County, in the beautiful Ozarks, where a weekly Monday evening jam session continues to be held.

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