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Search for university librarian begins anew


By Julia Ann Easley


After reviewing the recommendations of the recruitment advisory committee for the position of university librarian, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter has invited three outstanding candidates to meet with campus , starting Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Each candidate’s name and curriculum vitae will be posted online approximately 48 hours in advance of his or her visit. Look for this information on the provost's Web page for the university librarian recruitment.

Each forum is scheduled from 3:30 to 5 p.m., according to the following schedule:

  • Candidate A — Tuesday, Feb. 21, MU II, Memorial Union
  • Candidate B — Thursday, Feb. 23, MU II, Memorial Union
  • Candidate C — Tuesday, Feb. 28, King Lounge, Memorial Union

Hexter welcomes comments on the candidates; comments on a particular candidate should be sent no later than 48 hours after the candidate’s public forum. Comments should be sent by e-mail to universitylibrariansearch@ucdavis.edu.


The university librarian recruitment website includes the position announcement and the charge letter to the recruitment advisory committee.


Chair: Harold Levine, dean, School of Education
Co-chair: James Carey, professor, entomology

  • Karen Andrews — head librarian emerita, Physical Sciences and Engineering Library
  • Mario Biagioli — Distinguished Professor, School of Law, and Science and Technology Studies
  • Robert Brosnan — professor of surgical and radiological services, School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Jonathan Eisen — professor, evolution and ecology
  • Miranda Goodman-Wilson — graduate student, psychology
  • Robert Heyer-Grey — acting head librarian, Physical Sciences and Engineering Library
  • Hung Ho — professor and chief of surgery, School of Medicine
  • Hsuan Hsu — professor, English
  • Winston Ko — dean, Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • James Oltjen — Cooperative Extension specialist, animal science
  • Charlotte Payne — library assistant, Shields Library
  • Nick Sidney — undergraduate, international relations; and student assistant to the chancellor
  • Peter Siegel — vice provost, Information and Educational Technology
  • Patricia Turner — vice provost, Undergraduate Studies
  • Andrew Waldron — professor, mathematics

UC Davis has relaunched its search for a university librarian after redefining the position to focus on leading the library's integration of digital resources and information technology to serve the academic community into the future.

Ralph Hexter, provost and executive vice chancellor, said libraries are changing with the times. They must now deal with the rising cost of online science journals and the increase in the number of e-books even as they are asked to take on new tasks, such as curating data as mandated by research grants.

"The changes have only accelerated in the last year and a half or two," Hexter said. "Searching for a university librarian at this time is a great opportunity." The university librarian reports to the provost.

Indeed, according to the revised job description, the new university librarian will be "responsible for transforming the General Library into an 'academic hub' that promotes the effective and innovative use of digital information resources in discovery and learning for the future."

The recruitment advisory committee met earlier this month for the initial review of applications. According to a draft timeline for the search, the committee aims to conduct first-round interviews by videoconference in January. The committee would then identify three to five finalists and conduct in-depth reference and background checks. Formal campus interviews would be conducted in late January.

At this time, no dates have been announced for open forums with the finalists.

Siverson stays on an acting librarian

In November, the UC Board of Regents approved UC Davis' request to extend the appointment of Randy Siverson as acting university librarian through Aug. 31. Siverson, a distinguished professor emeritus and research professor of political science, has served as acting university librarian since Dec. 1, 2010.

"We're grateful for the leadership he's been providing and for his outstanding stewardship of this key resource," Hexter said.

UC Davis suspended the search for a university librarian last year after the recruitment process and interviews showed that it was necessary to redefine the position.

Helping to shape thinking about the new direction, Hexter said, was a 2011 report by the Education Advisory Board, a think tank to which UC Davis belongs. The report, "Redefining the Academic Library: Managing the Migration to Digital Information Services," outlines recommendations for leveraging digital collections, rethinking the scholarly publishing model, repurposing library space and redeploying library staff.

At UC Davis, the university librarian is responsible for the leadership and administration of the UC Davis General Library, ranked by the Association of Research Libraries as one of the top 75 research libraries in North America. The General Library comprises Shields Library, the Carlson Health Sciences Library, the Physical Sciences and Engineering Library, and the Baisdell Medical Library.

Harold Levine, dean of the School of Education and chair of the recruitment advisory committee, said the committee is looking for a university librarian who has demonstrated mastery of traditional library fields and can be a leader in the new digital frontier. "We want someone who has their feet comfortably in both with a greater emphasis in the latter," he said.

Digital knowledge

"UC Davis wants to be on the cutting edge of what's transformative about digital knowledge, digital dissemination, curating digital information and data mining," Levine added.

The position also calls for development of innovative research and educational technology information and publishing services. Examples cited include business intelligence and reputation management systems such as an online faculty profile service, course management systems and the campus website.

Levine said he sees a role for the library in helping faculty find and manage large datasets, in creating conferencing around data for graduate students, and in securing copyright or other necessary permissions for data.

Levine said UC Davis is looking for someone who can also guide the university's participation in the California Digital Library and other organizations working to create and share digital archives of library materials.

The university librarian's responsibilities include oversight of library operations, leadership of a staff of more than 120, responsibility for an annual operating budget of $24.7 million, and fundraising.

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