Terese Heidenwolf, Director of Research & Instructional Services, passed away on March 6, 2024. Terese joined Skillman Library in August 1992 as a reference librarian after having received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Michigan, respectively. During her long, outstanding career at Lafayette, Terese, more than anyone, radically transformed the library into what it is today: the heart and soul of the campus and a vibrant, model 21st century library. “[E]verything that the library became, that we were proud of and that became recognized as superior by the College’s faculty as well as by our professional peers, really began with Terese,” Dean Emeritus of Libraries Neil McElroy acknowledges. As the library evolved, “it was guided and knit together by her into a spirited and fully fleshed program.” 

Terese Heidenwolf sits at the reference desk in front of a computer. Her hands are folded and a large smile is on her face.

Indeed, librarians as teachers started with Terese. When Terese arrived, the library had no teaching program. She created, secured, and expanded opportunities for librarians to work alongside faculty in the classroom. Following the success in the First-Year Seminars, Terese initiated the information literacy grant program in 2001, to further cultivate and strengthen faculty-librarian teaching partnership. In May 2011, faculty voted to add information literacy learning outcomes to the Common Course of Study. In 2008, Terese received a Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award for her groundbreaking work in information literacy and for her exceptional teaching. Many faculty members have spoken of the value of collaborating with Terese and how great a resource she is to them and their students. Terese “has great ideas” and “steers me in the right direction,” Susan Averett, Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics, remarks. Terese always strives for an encouraging and conducive learning environment for students, whether it is in the classroom or at Skillman Library’s research help desk. DC Jackson, Cornelia F. Hugel Professor of History, commends Terese’s presence at the research help desk, “ever willing to answer and address queries both great and small.” His view is echoed by Ilan Peleg, Charles A. Dana Professor of Government and Law. Terese is “among the most competent librarians I have ever met anywhere in the world. If something could be found, she will find it, and share it with the eager, anxious scholar with a smile.” Professor Evan Fisher of Mathematics agrees. She “helped me find and obtain journal articles for my research……[and] identify classroom texts that I can provide for my students.”

Terese has also built a coherent, consistent, and agile program for purchasing materials, a model for other libraries. Through her diligence and innovation and in collaboration with faculty, she has assembled a robust collection that supports faculty teaching, research, and student intellectual pursuit. Bob Mattison, Marshall R. Metzgar Professor of Art, credits Terese and her “remarkable efficiency and good cheer” in building a thorough modern art and architecture collection. In 2007, Terese instituted systematic reviews of journal subscriptions to ensure that the library’s journals reflect the College’s curriculum and research programs. As more journals became available electronically and as their prices skyrocketed, she experimented with new ways of providing access to journal content. Starting in 2009, Terese canceled the library’s print subscriptions to journals to redirect the money to immediate, on-demand access. The pay-per-view and consortial access strategies she implemented have enabled the library to significantly expand its journal collections, including those published by Elsevier, Wiley, Springer, and Sage. She adopted similar approaches to shift the library’s book collection to electronic form. The innovative projects Terese embarked on have resulted in a substantial electronic book collection from major academic publishers. Her access and acquisition revolution naturally extends to her support of open access. Lafayette was among the first to adopt an open access resolution and is a founding member of a coalition of open access institutions that include Harvard, Stanford, and Duke.

Terese has also been a faculty leader, ready to serve and guide the College on a multitude of faculty committees and administrative conversations. Terese was elected to some of Lafayette’s most important committees, including the Faculty Academic Policy Committee (FAP), the Governance Committee, and the Committee on Educational Policy. She has chaired the Student Appeals Committee and has twice chaired the Governance Committee. Moreover, Terese has represented the faculty on the Board’s Information Technology Committee. During her most recent stint on the Teaching and Learning Committee, the committee brought to the faculty the motion to restrict access to student evaluations. James Woolley, Frank Lee and Edna M. Smith Professor Emeritus, a long-time faculty clerk, praises Terese as “a tough-minded, deft, and fair yet diplomatic problem-solver.” Her skills, along with her institutional knowledge and deep commitment to the College, made her the ideal person to lead, for example, the “budget and facilities subcommittee” of FAP in 2008-2009, for which Terese did an unusual amount of work. Equally important, she was—according to Josh Sanborn, David M. ’70 and Linda Roth Professor of History and Chair of FAP—keenly “aware of the distinct and important role that the faculty and its committees should play in budgetary questions while still eager to work together with many parties to accomplish difficult goals.” 

Terese has been a trail-blazer in broadening and deepening the contribution of the library and librarians to the College’s educational mission, profoundly transforming the librarian’s role from “service provider” to partner, (co-)teacher, and leader in the core academic enterprise. The library has been recognized as the gem and heart of the campus. At the center of the library is Terese, guiding the work of other library staff. “No one has defined and symbolized the library’s long-standing ethos of service and scholarship better than Terese,” Professor Jackson asserts. And yet what has been truly remarkable about Terese lies not in her wisdom, her unmatched work ethic, and her multiple professional talents as a writer, teacher, and research librarian, but rather in her ability to step aside to give her colleagues the room to shine while providing them her unwavering support. “It is rare to find someone so gifted who yet leaves space for others, who is such a bright light and yet doesn’t put others in half shadow,” Dean Emeritus McElroy reflects. Terese requires zero limelight. Her main concern has always been to carve out, preserve, and expand roles in which librarians could contribute and thrive. As evidenced by her colleagues, “everyone who has worked with her or spent time with her is more likely to flourish, not just in their institutional or professional roles, but also as human beings.”

If you’ve visited the periodicals reading room in Skillman Library recently, you may have noticed a special new plaque. It reads, “Terese’s Bookshelf. In appreciation of Terese Heidenwolf, by her friends and colleagues across the Lafayette community, for her dedication and unparalleled contributions to the library.” Terese had a chance to see it when it was installed, and she was immensely pleased. It is a testament to her immense influence on collection development, information literacy, and all aspects of the library operations. 

All are welcome to attend Terese’s funeral mass scheduled for Tuesday, March 12, at 11 AM at St. Thomas More Church in Allentown.  A viewing will be held in the church vestibule starting at 9:30 AM.  Please find more details as well as Terese’s obituary here.

Donations in Terese’s name may be made to the Friends of Skillman Library Terese Heidenwolf Memorial Fund at the following link: https://library.lafayette.edu/friends-of-skillman-library/