University of Colorado Boulder Provost Russell L. Moore today announced the appointment of Leslie Reynolds as the interim dean of University Libraries.
Reynolds, who currently serves as senior associate dean, will begin her new role July 1. She will take the helm from longtime Dean Jim Williams, who announced his retirement in February. His last day will be June 30.
University Libraries not only includes Norlin Library, but four branch libraries throughout campus: William M. White Business; Jerry Crail Johnson Earth Sciences and Map; Leonard H. Gemmill Engineering, Mathematics and Physics; and Howard B. Waltz Music. All told, the total number of faculty and staff in the libraries is 215.
Reynolds came to CU Boulder in June 2013 as an associate dean from Texas A&M University and was quickly promoted to senior associate dean. She holds a master of library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Drake University in Iowa.
“I could not be more pleased at Leslie agreeing to be interim dean of the libraries, and I greatly look forward to her joining campus leadership," Moore said. "Her strong skills and passion for the libraries not only will be an asset to our faculty, students and staff but also to the thousands of others who access the knowledge we have on campus.”
Moore said a national search would begin immediately, with an expectation that the permanent dean will be in place by fall 2018. The search committee—including faculty, staff and students—will be led by Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation Terri Fiez.
“As dean of the libraries is one of the most important positions on campus, I appreciate Vice Chancellor Fiez leading this search and want to thank each member of the committee for taking the time to participate and to help shape the future of our university,” Moore said.
Reynolds said it will be tough to fill the shoes of her mentor, Dean Williams, but that she looks forward to the challenge. Her passion for libraries and open access scholarship is as strong as ever. However, she said she will not take on Williams’ well-known persona as commencement marshal, which is not technically part of the library dean’s job.
“He is the best boss and mentor I have ever had, and I’ve worked for some great people,” Reynolds said. “It’s been a real honor and privilege to learn from him as his senior associate dean. I feel like he has set this library on a very positive trajectory. We have developed our strategic plan so it is aligned with the chancellor’s priorities of shaping tomorrow’s leaders, positively impacting humanity and being the top university for innovation.”
“I think we are really set to continue to move forward as partners in creating, disseminating, and advancing scholarship.”
The CU Boulder library system houses the largest library collection in the Rocky Mountain region, exceeding 10 million items such as books, periodicals and maps, and has served as a regional depository for federal government publications since 1877. Reynolds said the library assets are impressive—but so are the faculty, researchers and students who use them.
“Within the libraries and within campus, there is a high sense of cooperation,” she said. “To me, that’s really exciting. There are strong partnerships within the system and the region in which our library is active. The faculty here are the cream of the crop.”
And so, Reynolds, whose mom regularly brought her to the public library in her hometown of Peoria, Illinois, will continue to oversee what she loves: the hunt for and access to that key nugget of information.
“The Libraries are all about helping people discover and learn. I look forward to leading our mission-critical work in this regard.”