Curtis Kendrick has been named the new dean of libraries at Binghamton University, effective July 15, 2015.
Kendrick, who has been the University Dean for Libraries and Information Resources at the City University of New York (CUNY) since 2004, is replacing former BU Dean of Libraries John Meador, who stepped down this past summer to become the dean of libraries at the University of Alabama at Birmingham after 11 years at BU. Susannah Gal, a biology professor at BU, was interim dean while the committee searched for Meador’s replacement.
According to Anne McCall, dean of Harpur College of Arts and Sciences and chair of the search committee, Kendrick’s responsibilities will include managing the library budget, acquiring items for special collections, overseeing library staff and integrating technology, such as digital databases, that can ease access of information for students and faculty. A recent focus of the library has been digitizing the special collections, as most of them are only available in hard copy.
“The dean of libraries is the academic, financial and personal visionary at the heart of the University,” McCall said. “Everyone at the University benefits from the wealth of knowledge that the library provides.”
Prior to his position at CUNY, Kendrick was the director of the Access Services Division at Columbia University Libraries, the assistant director of Harvard University Libraries, the head of circulation and reserves departments at Stony Brook University and the assistant to the director of libraries at Oberlin College.
According to Caryl Ward, a librarian and member of the committee, Kendrick’s long career in library and information services and management experience made him stand out from the other candidates.
“Curtis Kendrick’s leadership experience with CUNY and other research institutions will be valuable as the University focuses on its strategic priorities of path-breaking graduate education, research, scholarship and creative activities,” Ward wrote in an email.
The search committee included McCall, Provost Donald Nieman, faculty from within and outside of the library, an undergraduate, graduate student and alumnus representing the BU Foundation Board of Directors and the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Requirements included a master’s degree in library sciences and previous experience in supervising and financial management.
The search committee used a private firm to identify possible candidates and also advertised in major professional journals and sought nominations from library leaders around the country.
The other two finalists for the position were John Cunnye Walsh from George Mason University and Christine Avery from Pennsylvania State University. The trio interviewed on campus and presented their plans for improving library services at public forums held in March.
For Kendrick, technology will play an increasingly large role in BU’s libraries.
“We’re seeing a changeover to digital technologies that has been incredible in a relatively short period of time,” Kendrick said. “It’s revolutionary the way technology has enabled new ways of scholarship.”
Kendrick said he plans to use and expand Open Educational Resources, which provides free or low-cost digital learning materials such as textbooks, as well as an institutional repository, which would serve as a digital archive for creative and scholarly works by students and faculty.
“The University has a number of plans for raising [its research profile], and libraries have to be a big part of that,” Kendrick said.
While he will have a full plate as the dean of libraries, Kendrick said he is looking forward to helping students and faculty find the information they need.
“The opportunity to use and deliver technology services and information to faculty and students has been, for me, very profound,” Kendrick said.