Delritta Hornbuckle Joins Fresno State as Dean of Library Services

Delritta Hornbuckle, Dean of Library Services at Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library. (David Celaya/Henry Madden Library)

Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library has a new dean of Library Services.

Hired in September, Delritta “Del” Hornbuckle filled the vacancy when Peter McDonald retired earlier this year. During the interim, Dr. Jody Hironaka-Juteau served as library dean.

“Without equivocation, Dean Hornbuckle was absolutely the best candidate for the Henry Madden Library,” said Tammy Lau, Head of Special Collections Research Center and University Archivist at the Madden Library who served on the search committee. “Her management experience and facilitative leadership style will usher in a new era of student-centered, forward-thinking initiatives that will bring the Henry Madden Library to its full potential. Dean Hornbuckle’s integrity and genuineness shine through in her every interaction. She brings with her fresh ideas and new energy as we mobilize our resources to maximize what we can accomplish in the Library in support of the University’s mission of student success, lifelong learning and community engagement.”

Originally from Texas, Hornbuckle earned her bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M University and Master of Library Science degree at Pratt Institute in New York. She went on to be the associate director of Library Information Services at Harvard Business School and director of the Lasell College Brennan Library in Newton, Massachusetts, where she is fondly remembered.

“Del truly transformed the Brennan Library as Director, making significant improvements with the adoption of technology and new resources,” said Lydia Sampson, Assistant Director for Collections Management at the Brennan Library. “Under Del’s leadership, I personally felt like we were a Rip Van Winkle library, waking up and embracing the 21st Century. Thanks to many of Del’s initiatives, the Brennan Library teems with students studying, meeting, socializing and working on projects together. We miss Del, but wish her the best of luck in her new position.”

Being Dean of the Henry Madden Library is a career destination for Hornbuckle, who brings strong leadership experience, expertise in data analytics, library technology and a passion for student success.

“It’s been a long journey,” she said. “But I made a decision many years ago to focus on library management; I focused my professional growth and learning on understanding the ‘business’ of libraries. Then I began identifying institutions that matched my values and vision. My position at the Harvard Business School’s Baker Library really laid the foundation and taught me how to tie everyday work to larger strategic goals while managing people and resources. It was my library science ‘MBA.’”

Hornbuckle’s parents came from very humble beginnings but education was front and center to any kind of upward mobility, a value she learned at a very young age.

“My parents were successful [in instilling values] and I certainly used their successful educational pursuits as a guide,” she said. “Another important lesson [I learned] was understanding emotional intelligence. People are always first … one must remember how decisions and change impacts people.”

Hornbuckle is now in charge of a beautiful library space filled with cutting edge resources, services and highly trained employees that is accessible to students and the community.

“My role is to support staff and faculty to continue on to the next level,” Hornbuckle said. “I would like to see Henry Madden Library continue to be a vibrant, diverse and vital place for student success, learning, inspiring both intellectual pursuits and community engagement.”

Hornbuckle says she appreciates the similarities between Texas and new geographic home – the San Joaquin Valley – in the people, landscape, economy and culture.

“We took Dean [Hornbuckle] and her family to Yosemite National Park for their very first visit,” says Julie Moore, Catalog Librarian for Special Collections at the Madden Library. “Dean Hornbuckle was so much fun on that trip … she was like a kid in a candy shop. When someone like our Dean arrives from a different part of the country and sees Yosemite for the very first time, it is a reminder of just how fortunate we are to have all of these beautiful natural settings at our back door.”

When asked for advice she might give today’s youth, Hornbuckle responds with a Heraclitus of Ephesus quote that begins with, “The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts …” – a quote taped on her desktop monitor.

“Life is an adventure just waiting for you and to truly enjoy that adventure ahead, invest in yourself, your education, and embrace it as a personal value,” she adds. “An education prepares you for almost anything and gives you the confidence and resources to face many things that will certainly come your way.”