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Tim Pyatt
Tim Pyatt

Tim Pyatt, Dean of Z. Smith Reynolds Library

Tell us about what you do at the library.

It is my privilege to lead a dedicated group of library employees who are devoted to the academic success of our students, faculty, and greater campus community. In my role as dean I advocate for resources and raise funds to support that work. I represent the library on the academic deans council as well as on a number of university committees. I also work with and develop the ZSR Board of Visitors, the senior donor and advisory group to the library.

What is your favorite book/podcast/movie?

Trout Bum by John Gierach. I actually like all of Gierach’s essays on fishing, but I have re-read this collection many times. If you ever see me with a far away look in my eyes at a meeting, I am likely thinking about a trout fishing trip.

What is your favorite library story? (or memorable experience?)

There are so many, but I will mention two that I have written about. My boss at the University of Oregon, Ken Duckett, was sued by the descendants of President Warren G. Harding for $1 million (which was a lot of money in 1964). He refused to destroy Harding’s love letters and secretly microfilmed them when he was curator of manuscripts for the Ohio Historical Society. He still kept a copy of the microfilm hidden in his desk when I worked for him in 1988. I wrote a case study about the Harding Affair for the Society of American Archivists.

And I was robbed twice by the greatest book thief of the 20th century (if not all time). Stephen Blumberg robbed both Duke and Oregon when I was working there.

How did you start working in libraries?

I started working in libraries as a student assistant in the Record Library at Duke. This was a library of vinyl disks with listening stations. As an added bonus to starting my library career there, I also met a nice student assistant who I would later marry!

What is something we can’t know by looking at you?

I am the trombone section leader for the Salem Band, the oldest community band in the United States.