K-State officials on Monday announced that longtime Dean of K-State Libraries Lori Goetsch will retire at the end of the academic year on May 28.

Goetsch has served in the role since 2004.

“I would like to thank Dean Goetsch for her outstanding service to Kansas State University, particularly in the last two years as she steered the university through the aftermath of the Hale Library fire to overseeing its renovation and transformation as a next-generation library,” said Charles Taber, provost and executive vice president, in a statement. “Her leadership has been truly appreciated during this time as has her work to ensure the university libraries’ mission of assisting academic success in research, learning and discovery.”

When a fire broke out on Hale Library’s roof in May 2018 because of ongoing construction, the building closed for 15 months. Most of the associated damage from the incident came from smoke and water, which destroyed about 85% of the library’s interior.

Goetsch oversaw the recovery process and led the planning and renovation to turn Hale into a “next-generation” library. It reopened the first floor in August 2019 and the second floor in June this past summer.

“I think my greatest accomplishment and the one that was most unexpected was the Hale fire and our recovery,” Goetsch said in a statement. “I learned so much about a lot of things — general contracting, interior design, architecture, insurance — it was quite an experience and one I’m very proud of. We will have a beautiful and functional Hale Library for many years to come.”

Goetsch said she had thought about retiring sooner, but after the fire she wanted to help during the recuperation process and usher the library into a new direction.

The Hale recovery and her other successes as dean would not be possible, Goetsch said, without the staff of the K-State Libraries, which include Hale Library, the Math and Physics Library and the Paul Weigel Library of Architecture, Planning and Design.

“I want to acknowledge the great staff of the K-State Libraries,” she said. “They are a service-oriented, hard-working, creative group that has a strong commitment to the K-State community. They’ve made it through the fire and are now doing the same with COVID-19. I admire their resilience and persistence.”

The completion of the Hale Library renovation is scheduled in January.

“I want a few months to enjoy and appreciate the building and the effort it took to get us to completion,” Goetsch said. “Then it seems like a good time to ride off into the Kansas sunset. I will definitely miss, most of all, the great people at K-State.”

Prior to K-State, Goetsch served as director of the public services division at the University of Maryland’s library; head of reference services and associate professor at the University of Tennessee; women’s studies bibliographer, librarian and head librarian for information-reference at Michigan State University; and assistant reference librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

As a researcher, Goetsch’s published work covers a range of topics, including the importance of library safety and security, the impact of librarians on students, faculty and staff and their accomplishment of the libraries’ missions, as well as the status of women in librarian positions in relevance to sex discrimination in employment.

She also has been active in several organizations, such as the American Library Association; board member of the Greater Western Library Alliance, State Library of Kansas and the Emporia University School of Library and Information Management; president of the Association of College and Research Libraries from 2009 to 2010 and also serving on its board; and an executive member of Humanities Kansas.

Goetsch earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Illinois State University and a Master of Library Science degree from Rosary College, which is now Dominican University.

K-State officials said they will begin searching for Goetsch’s replacement “in the near future” and will release additional details later.