Wittenborg reappointed University librarian

Head Librarian to work on Alderman reconstruction


The University reappointed Karin Wittenborg, the University librarian and dean of libraries, to another 5-year term Monday. As the head librarian, Wittenborg leads a team responsible for 11 on-Grounds libraries and a high-density shelving library off-Grounds. Wittenborg, who oversaw the building of Special Collections and vastly expanded digital content, has led the University Libraries since 1993.

University Librarian Karin Wittenborg was reappointed to another five-year term last Monday.

Wittenborg, who leads the team responsible for 11 on-Grounds libraries and a high-density shelving library off-Grounds, has led the library system since 1993.

When Wittenborg first assumed her position, the library’s endowment stood at $9 million. Today, a large increase in donorship has brought the total endowment to $56 million. The number of library collections has also grown, thanks to a fundraising partnership with the College that Wittenborg implemented.

With more funding available, Wittenborg was able to jump-start construction of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. Finished in 2004, the Special Collections Library has 12 miles of shelving that hosts rare books and manuscripts dating back to medieval times.

“She’s been a champion of students and faculty, even though they sometimes have different needs for the Library,” library spokesperson Charlotte Morford said in an email.

Wittenborg helped to develop an online database for scholarly research known as Libra in an effort to connect professors and students to scholarly work published by University faculty.

Wittenborg also oversaw the remodeling of the McGregor room in 2005 and will focus much of her attention in the upcoming term on the renovation of Alderman Library, Morford said.

“Alderman is one of the busiest facilities, with more than 730,000 visits per year,” Morford said.

Morford said the library staff remains committed to maintaining extensive print collections due to both their academic value and for their ability to get students in the correct “frame of mind” for studying.

“Technology is not always the easy answer,” Morford said. “[I]t becomes obsolete quickly, it requires adequate infrastructure, technical support, legal agreements, and bandwidth/power supply to be workable, and, believe it or not, it is a far more fragile format than the printed book.”

Wittenborg previously held positions at UCLA, Stanford and MIT. She received the Elizabeth Zintl Leadership Award from the University’s Women’s Center in 2004, and in 2005 the University won the national award for Excellence in Academic Libraries under her leadership.

Wittenborg is out of town until March and was not available for comment.

Published February 2, 2014 in FP test, News

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