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Last modified: Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Brenda Johnson named Ruth Lilly Dean of Indiana University Libraries

Nov. 18, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Brenda Johnson, who currently serves as University Librarian at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been named Ruth Lilly Dean of the Indiana University Libraries, Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson announced today (Nov. 18).

"The Indiana University Libraries are critical to the institution's mission," said Hanson. "I am confident that our libraries will continue to flourish under Brenda's leadership. Her experience as a director of a member library of the Association of Research Libraries and her engaging style will serve her -- and the entire IU community -- well."

Brenda Johnson

Brenda Johnson

Print-Quality Photo

"I am delighted to have been selected to serve as the next Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries at IU," Johnson said. "I believe a library is the greatest metaphor for a university. It provides essential resources for academic research, is a repository for scholarly achievement, a source of intellectual inspiration, a stage for public discourse, a center of cultural life, an incubator for new ideas, and is, in and of itself, a 'community'.

"I'm delighted to see the IU Libraries already stand very strong in embodying those values and concepts," Johnson continued. "I look forward to leading a library that is already recognized as one of the top libraries in the country as we engage with faculty, students and staff to achieve even-greater excellence and to create innovative and emergent services for a changing academic environment."

Major initiatives coordinated by Johnson at the University of California, Santa Barbara, include planning for a $62 million library addition and renovation, the UCSB Reads program (a program that engages the campus and community in conversations about a key topic while reading the same book), increased emphasis on outreach to students and faculty, and a rejuvenation of fundraising efforts for the UCSB libraries.

Prior to assuming the role of University Librarian at UCSB, Johnson served as interim co-university librarian of the University of Michigan Libraries. She served the University of Michigan Libraries in various roles for more than 20 years. From 1997-2007, she served as associate university librarian for public services.

Johnson's selection caps a search that began in late 2008, when Hanson announced the appointment of a search committee and the selection of a firm, Greenwood/Asher & Associates Inc., to assist with the search process. Composed of students, staff, librarians and faculty, the search committee was co-chaired by Bobby Schnabel, dean of the School of Informatics and Computing and interim vice president for research, and Debora Shaw, professor in the School of Library and Information Science.

"Brenda Johnson's background and experience with the Big Ten and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation have prepared her well for the IU Libraries deanship," said Shaw. "We on the search committee were especially impressed with her breadth of understanding and her sense of how to help the libraries continue to build on their strengths and partnerships."

"I am delighted that Brenda Johnson will be joining IU as Dean of Libraries," said Schnabel. "Her vision for the future directions of libraries, enthusiastic personality, and vast experience and proven leadership abilities at both the University of Michigan and at UC, Santa Barbara, make her an outstanding choice."

Patricia Steele, who had served as dean since 2005, became Dean of Libraries at the University of Maryland on Sept. 1. Carolyn Walters has served as interim dean of the IU Libraries in the ensuing months and will continue in that capacity until Johnson assumes her new duties on March 1, 2010. Johnson's appointment is subject to approval by the IU Board of Trustees.

"I am deeply grateful to Carolyn for having taken on this additional administrative role," said Hanson. "Her steady leadership continues to move our libraries forward. Her extensive experience with the IU Libraries will help to ensure a seamless transition for the new dean, the library staff, and for the Libraries' many partners."

The dean of University Libraries provides administrative leadership for a system of libraries on eight campuses. On the Bloomington campus, the dean provides strategic planning and policy direction in the areas of collection development, public and technical services, facilities planning and personnel policies.