New Yale Librarian named: Susan Gibbons of Rochester

Susan Gibbons, vice provost and the Andrew H. & Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester, has been appointed as University Librarian at Yale, President Richard C. Levin has announced.

Her five-year term will begin July 1.

Gibbons joined the University of Rochester in 2000 as the digital initiatives librarian of the River Campus Libraries, and over the years assumed greater and more diversified responsibilities at the University. She was appointed to her present position in 2008.

She is well known in the library world, most significantly for the library user studies at Rochester she has undertaken since 2004. In collaboration with an anthropologist, Gibbons determined how faculty and students do their academic work, find information, and make use of the physical and technological resources offered by the libraries. The results have led to service, collections and physical space changes in the River Campus Libraries designed to better meet user needs. Gibbons has given talks around the world on this work, which has been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education. In 2007 she co-edited “Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester”(ACRL Publications), and published her own book, “The Academic Library and the Net Gen Student: Making the Connections (ALA Editions).”

“Susan brings to Yale both a keen intelligence and an infectious enthusiasm for the work of libraries,” wrote Levin in a message to the campus community. “She is greatly admired by faculty and staff colleagues at Rochester, as well as by librarians around the country, for her effective and highly collaborative style of leadership. She fully understands the challenges facing a great research library: that we must continue to maintain and augment our extraordinary print collections, and, at the same time, embrace the exciting possibilities of greater and more efficient use of scholarly materials through digital technology.”

Gibbons received a B.A. in history from the University of Delaware in 1992, and in 1995, and master’s degrees in both history and library science from Indiana University-Bloomington. More recently, she returned to school while working full-time to earn both a M.B.A. in 2002 from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an Ed.D. in higher education administration from the University of Rochester in 2009.

She is an active member of the American Library Association (ALA); she currently serves as an ALA councilor-at-large and is a member of the ACRL Task Force for Standards for Libraries in Higher Education. She is on the board of Ddrectors of the Center for Research Libraries, and she is an editorial board member of and book review editor for the Internet Reference Services Quarterly.

“This outstanding appointment would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Pericles Lewis, professor of comparative literature and English,” noted Levin. “I am deeply grateful for his professionalism and excellent judgment in leading the search committee. I appreciate, also, the excellent work of committee members Meg Bellinger, Paul Bloom, John Mack Faragher, Bonnie Fleming, Paul Freedman, Brian Lizotte, Joseph Manning, R. Kenny Marone, Linda Peterson, Douglas Rae, Holly Rushmeier, Lloyd Suttle, and Christine Weideman.

“I also wish to thank the Yale Library staff for their valued advice and patience throughout the year,” he added. “And, I am exceptionally grateful to Jon Butler, acting university librarian and the Howard R. Lamar Professor of American Studies, History & Religious Studies, for stepping in so willingly during his sabbatical year to steer our University Libraries at a time of sadness and uncertainty. I know everyone will join me in thanking Professor Butler for his leadership.”