Libraries Update: University Librarian Search and Faculty Advisory Committee

November 17, 2014

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community,

As President Bollinger reported this spring, James Neal will retire as University Librarian at the end of the calendar year. Throughout his thirteen years at the helm of the Libraries, Jim has provided outstanding leadership, preserving one of the world’s leading research library systems while moving it boldly into the age of digital technology and enhancing service to students and faculty alike. Jim will take on the title of University Librarian Emeritus upon his retirement.

At the direction of President Bollinger, I have convened a committee to conduct a search for the next University Librarian; its members are listed below. We are looking for a leader who has a clear vision for the future of research libraries and can oversee our continuing efforts to strengthen Columbia’s vast collections. The committee is consulting with a range of faculty and student groups, and will begin interviewing candidates at the beginning of next semester.

The next University Librarian will also hold the title of Vice Provost and will serve as a member of the Provost’s cabinet. This new model will further strengthen ties between the head of the Libraries and the University’s academic leadership, expanding opportunities to link Libraries initiatives with academic priorities.

As the search is expected to proceed into the coming year, I have appointed Damon Jaggars as Interim University Librarian effective January 1. Damon has served as Associate University Librarian since 2008, and was named Acting Associate Vice President for Digital Programs and Technology in 2011.

Damon has been a leader in the development of Columbia’s collections and innovative services. He oversaw the construction of the Libraries’ strategic plan and the self-study that formed the basis for the recently-completed Provost’s strategic review of the Libraries. Our growing network of partnerships with other leading institutions owes a great deal to Damon’s successful outreach efforts. I am confident that Damon will be an outstanding steward of the Libraries’ programs and collections during his tenure.

In conjunction with the search process, I have also reconvened the University’s faculty advisory committee on the Libraries. This body, the Provost’s Committee on the Libraries and Information Services, was established by then-Provost Jonathan Cole in 1997, but has not met for the past several years. In the strategic review of the University Libraries earlier this year, both the external and internal review teams strongly recommended reinstating this committee.

In his original charge to the committee, Provost Cole asked the members to serve the University by “reviewing the current state of the Libraries; reviewing proposed actions needed to be taken to improve upon our current situation; helping to formulate policy related to libraries and academic information systems; discussing the types of investments we should make; and acting as a communications conduit between the Libraries and the academic units that it serves.”

The committee, whose members are listed at the end of this message, will take up this same charge. I will rely on it to provide faculty input and guidance to ensure that the Libraries are as responsive as possible to the needs and aspirations of our schools and departments and their faculties. I look forward to reporting on the work of the committee, along with the results of the search for a new University Librarian, in the coming year.

John Coatsworth
Provost


University Librarian Search Committee Members

Carlos Alonso, Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor in the Humanities;
Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Peter Bearman, Jonathan R. Cole Professor of Sociology
Robert Cartolano, Associate Vice President for Digital Programs and Technology Services
John Coatsworth, Provost; Professor of International and Public Affairs and of History
George Hripcsak, Vivian Beaumont Allen Professor of Biomedical Informatics; Chair, Department of Biomedical Informatics
Olatunde Johnson, Professor of Law
Soulaymane Kachani, Professor of Professional Practice in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research; Vice Dean-Academic Programs, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science; Vice Provost for Online Education
Mark Mazower, Ira D. Wallach Professor of World Order Studies
Sharon Marcus, Orlando Harriman Professor of English; Dean for Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Katherine Phillips, Paul Calello Professor of Leadership and Ethics in the Faculty of Business; Senior Vice Dean, Graduate School of Business
Brent Stockwell, Professor of Biological Sciences and Chemistry
Robert Wolven, Associate University Librarian for Bibliographic Services and Collection Development

Provost’s Committee on the Libraries and Information Services

Jonathan Amiel, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History
Elizabeth Blackmar, Professor of History
Herbert Chase, Professor of Clinical Medicine (in Biomedical Informatics)
Thomas DiPrete, Giddings Professor of Sociology
Andrew Dolkart, Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Carol Gluck, George Sansom Professor of History and Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Jean Howard, George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities
Richard John, Professor of Journalism
Olatunde Johnson, Professor of Law
Soulaymane Kachani, Professor of Professional Practice in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research; Vice Dean-Academic Programs, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science; Vice Provost for Online Education
Laura Kaufman, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Arthur M. Langer, Senior Lecturer in Technology Management in the Faculty of Continuing Education
Elaine Larson, Anna C. Maxwell Professor of Nursing Research and Professor of Epidemiology
Kathleen McKeown, Harry and Gertrude Rothschild Professor of Computer Science; Director, Data Science Institute
Brent Stockwell, Professor of Biological Sciences and Chemistry