August 22, 2016
MSUB Library Director Takes New Job, Interim Appointed
University Relations and Communications, 657-2266
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Brent Roberts, director of the Montana State University Billings Library, will leave his position on Sept. 2 after 6 years at the helm of the ‘Temple of Knowledge.’
The university announced last week Megan Thomas will serve as the library’s director in the interim of a national search for Roberts’ successor.
“Roberts has been a visionary librarian and scholar with a deep commitment to making library resources central to the needs of students, faculty, and the Billings community,” Provost Robert Hoar said. “He has leveraged the university’s resources, and has created a strong synergy between MSUB and our statewide network of resources and data, ensuring citizens have greater access to information and academic interests.”
In 2012, Roberts was appointed to the Montana State Library Commission by then Montana commissioner of Higher Education Sheila Stearns, a position he has held up until recently. The Library Commission is composed of five members appointed by the governor and a librarian within the Montana University System, including the superintendent of public instruction.
Roberts, who worked for a time as a reference librarian at MSU Northern in Havre, has been at MSU Billings since 2000. He was named associate director of the library in 2000 and director in 2010. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Brigham Young University and his master’s degrees in library and information sciences from the University of Washington and in public relations from MSU Billings. Most recent, Roberts is a Ph.D. candidate with Montana State University’s American Studies program.
Roberts said that after serving MSUB for much of his career, he looks forward to a new position as Dean of the Greenwood Library at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.
Back East, he said, he will be in the heart of American history—a subject he and his family all take great interest in.
“We are history nerds,” he said. “The Library of Congress, the National Archives, it’ll all be right in our backyard. There is a battlefield marker, or some other historical marker, every turn you take. Basically, it’s all of our dreams come true, with the exception of ticks and chiggers.”
Even so, Roberts said he will miss Montana and the MSUB community.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many great, and supportive people,” he said. “Together, we’ve really built a commitment to community service, student success and public outreach. We’ve established many great campus partnerships—a relentless quest to student success.”
In response to student requests, Roberts has as director spearheaded years of library lecture series, featuring MSUB faculty and community presenters, building new study rooms, an international reading room and, most recently, a system that provides expanded access to digital and print collections at academic libraries across the state and nation.
Thomas said Roberts has provided her with great learning experiences, helping to prepare her for her role as interim director.
“Brent has been really good about providing a variety of learning opportunities and chances to collaborate across campus and within the community,” Thomas said. “I feel that he has equipped me with the foundation needed to be a successful and influential leader.”
A Billings Senior High School valedictorian, Thomas received her bachelor’s degree in 2006 from Montana State University, graduating with highest honors in English. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from North Carolina Central University in 2010 with a Master of Library Science.
At MSUB, Thomas has worked as the library’s administrative associate from 2008-2010 and then as its reference and assessment librarian. She has helped manage key projects, including the library’s lecture series and the digital collections.
“Megan has provided solid leadership in the MSUB Library,” Roberts said. “I’m confident she will continue to keep the library at the forefront of the university’s academic mission during the time she will serve as interim director.”