Hardin-Simmons’ Dean of University Libraries to Retire After 33 Years

Alice Specht, Dean of University Libraries retires after 33 faithful years of service to HSU.


A retirement reception was held April 2, 2015, in the library for Alice Specht to the theme of Alice in Wonderland. She was first hired as the head of public services of the libraries and took the dean of libraries position in 1988.

Specht earned an undergraduate degree from Ramon College at the University of the Pacific, attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia toward a Master of Science in Library and Information, and finished her master’s work at HSU.

Her first library job in the library was as social sciences librarian at the University of North Texas, then proceeded to work for the Lubbock Public Library, followed by the Abilene Public Library’s state consultant for public libraries in the region until finally coming to work for HSU.

Specht said, “One of the joys of being at HSU has been the people. I think the administration and the people on campus, and the people in the library have been really nice to work with. I will miss that the most.”

Not only does Specht work as the Dean of Libraries, but she is also a member of the Deans Council, she was the only female on the dean’s council at the time meeting with the chief academic officer, academic committee, library committee and committee on committees. At one time she served on the chapel committee, Western Heritage lecture series committee, and was secretary of the faculty.

Specht also is the Hardin-Simmons University representative for the Abilene Library Consortium, Texas Library Association, a member of the board of the Grace Museum, and is a member of the Abilene Preservation League.

Specht occasionally will do library instruction for classes that request it and usually has a graduate research class she instructs.

Specht advises students to, “Stay curious. Think about different ways and different things you could be doing. Whether it’s choosing your career or answering an essay question. I really appreciate students and faculty who have some curiosity.”

Changes have been made during her time as dean. The library now has 90,000 electronic books and more than 40,000 electronic full text journals. The library is now designed to handle more group work done by students, furniture has been changed to be more flexible and colorful. Group study rooms, and quiet study rooms have been added, and computer labs have also been added to the library.

Ashley Wiggins, sophomore accounting major and library student worker from Charlotte, North Carolina, said, “She’s made some fantastic changes and is a really sweet and genuine person.”

Dr. Specht’s smiling face will be missed on the Hardin-Simmons campus but she promises to visit from time to time and is looking forward to the opening of the new “Gilbert’s Coffee Shot” that will proudly brew Starbucks coffee, in the fall of 2015.


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