The Libraries’ Susan Ivey is a Library Journal “Mover & Shaker”

The Libraries' Susan Ivey directs the innovative Research Facilitation Service

The Libraries' Susan Ivey directs the innovative Research Facilitation Service

Library Journal has named the NC State University Libraries’ Susan Ivey a 2023 “Mover & Shaker.” Ivey is recognized in the award’s Innovators category for her role as Director of the Research Facilitation Service (RFS), which provides a single point of contact for research computing and data questions and connects research service providers across NC State’s campus.

Ivey becomes the fourteenth staff member from the Libraries to receive the “Mover & Shaker” award—the most honorees of any academic library. Annually since 2002, Library Journal has chosen a class of innovative librarians and library staff members from an international pool of more than 300 nominees.

Ivey has been recognized as an innovator for helping address the challenges that researchers face as their work becomes increasingly data-driven and technologically complex. Her vision for the RFS helped form a partnership with the university’s Office of Information Technology and Office of Research and Innovation to provide a central hub for expertise, research computing infrastructure, and data support services. The idea was not to add another service provider to an already crowded field of them, but to help each individual researcher connect with the specific providers they need at any given point in the research cycle.

Ivey launched the RFS as a pilot program in April 2022 in partnership with the multidisciplinary College of Sciences to build its internal workflows, refine its processes, learn more about campus needs, and understand how to scale and scope the service. Ivey also knew that just because you build it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll come, so she worked with the Libraries External Relations team to create branding and a communications plan for the RFS, in conjunction with communicators from the college. After a round of news items, press releases, and social media, Ivey then took the show on the road, strategically visiting relevant event series around campus.

It might sound odd or counterintuitive for such a computing-, data-, and IT-driven challenge to be solved with community building, but that is exactly what Ivey is doing—taking solutions that already exist and bringing them into a community with those who need them, or, if there are gaps discovered throughout this process, bringing together the experts—in the Libraries and across campus—who can develop and deliver these new services.

Her step-by-step outreach plan created a solid foundation for RFS to build upon, incorporating input and feedback, which garnered buy-in and consensus. This foundation has administrators at the highest level excited about what this service will mean for NC State. In January 2023, the RFS expanded to serve the College of Natural Resources (CNR) as well.

"I am thrilled to see Susan's leadership in building the Research Facilitation Service recognized,” says Greg Raschke, Senior Vice Provost and Director of Libraries. “Computationally intensive research services require innovative partnerships between multiple campus units, along with consistent care in building reliable service models. Susan has the creativity, patience, and commitment to build lasting partnerships and sustaining services."

“We are excited to begin rolling out the Research Facilitation Service to more campus colleges this year and next,” Ivey said in reference to the CNR expansion. “By coordinating the network of expertise on campus, the RFS will play an integral part in supporting the university’s computational and data-intensive research enterprise.”