John Unsworth has been selected to be University librarian and dean of libraries. Unsworth currently serves as University librarian and English professor at Brandeis University.
The upcoming library changes played a role in the search for a new dean, President Emeritus John Casteen III said. Casteen — who headed the search committee for the new dean — said the committee looked for a dean experienced in both digital and traditional libraries.
Unsworth’s expertise and previous background in both the digital humanities and more traditional book studies will benefit the University, Unsworth said.
“I have been a graduate student cog in the machine, a tenure-track faculty member, a director of an independent research center, a dean of a professional school and a member of central administration and central services,” Unsworth said in an email statement.
As dean of libraries, Unsworth will be responsible for overseeing all of the libraries on Grounds, as well as the labs within the libraries. Unsworth will also oversee the Alderman Renewal project, which has been the center of much recent debate.
The English Student Association has vocally supported the preservation of the Alderman Stacks in their current form and is opposed to the removal of books and microfilm and their transportation to an offsite location.
Unsworth said the library should serve as a community resource and that he is looking forward to working with groups on Grounds to implement changes.
“The library needs renewal, as a physical facility and as a University function, and I look forward to a requirements-gathering process that involves all the library’s constituencies, including undergraduates,” Unsworth said. “Each constituency should organize, by the way, because it’s hard for a central service unit like the library to make a case on its own authority for resources or attention.”
Unsworth said he plans on making himself available to the student body. While the Board of Visitors has to make the final decisions, Unsworth will likely be living on the Lawn and has said that his “house will be open to all.”