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To: Faculty, Students, and Staff
From: Eric D. Isaacs
Re: Library Director Appointment
Date: October 16, 2014

I am delighted to announce that Brenda L. Johnson has been appointed as Director of the Library and University Librarian for a five-year term effective January 1, 2015.   She succeeds Judith Nadler, who retired in June after nearly five decades of service to the University of Chicago.

Johnson has been the Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries at Indiana University since 2010, where she has driven the development of new models of scholarly communication and shaped innovative ways for students and faculty to use and interact with the Indiana University Libraries. The newly opened IU Scholars’ Commons, developed by and housed in the Library, is an example of an initiative which provides academic support via workshops, seminars, consultations, and advanced technology equipment and assistance, fostering a vibrant intellectual community for faculty and graduate students. 

Prior to Indiana University, she was the University Librarian at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Johnson spent more than 20 years at the University of Michigan Libraries, where she served as the Interim Co-University Librarian and Associate University Librarian for Public Services at the University of Michigan, a position responsible for that institution’s 19 libraries.  

She is active in the national and international library community through service and leadership on a variety of executive boards and committees, such as the Board of Governors of HathiTrust, the Board of Directors of CLOCKSS (a digital repository for web-based scholarly publications), the Committee on Institutional Cooperation Library Directors Group, the Board of Directors of Kuali OLE (Open Library Environment), and the Association of Research Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Steering Committee.

Johnson has become a nationally and internationally recognized voice on topics such as the rapid pace of change in information discovery and dissemination, the development of multi-institution “collective collections,” and research and learning environments, and the need for library transformation that fosters scholarly engagement and support.  Her recent international speaking engagements have taken her to London, Shanghai, Kyushu and Yokohama, Japan.

Johnson received a B.A. from Muskingum College and a Master of Library Science from Rutgers University.   

The University of Chicago Library plays a key role in the life of faculty and students. With its 11.9 million volumes, noted collections in a broad range of fields, including global resources,  and commitment to keeping its collection on campus, the Library has become a destination for scholars and a model for other institutions worldwide. The Joseph Regenstein Library and the adjoining Joe and Rika Mansueto Library are both located at the heart of campus—a testament to the Library’s central role at the University. Completed in 2011, the Mansueto Library is the most recent addition to the library system and was designed to fulfill the research needs of students and scholars.

Brenda’s expertise in supporting both physical collections and the proliferation of digital resources, along with her history of collaboration and innovative thinking, make her an outstanding leader for this important enterprise. Please join me in congratulating and welcoming Brenda.

I want to thank Diane Lauderdale and the rest of the search committee for their work over the past several months to identify and interview candidates. I also want to thank Alice Schreyer, Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections, as well as Curator of Rare Books for her service as Interim Library Director, and her continuing service to the University community.