Chief librarian to leave for Oxford

University Librarian Alice Prochaska announced Friday that she will resign next year to become principal of her alma mater, Somerville College at the University of Oxford.

The appointment is effective September 2010.

University Librarian Alice Prochaska, who will return to Britain in September 2010 to assume a post at the University of Oxford, speaks to attendees after delivering a lecture at Brock University in Ontario on March 12.
University Librarian Alice Prochaska, who will return to Britain in September 2010 to assume a post at the University of Oxford, speaks to attendees after delivering a lecture at Brock University in Ontario on March 12.

Prochaska is an alumna of Somerville and received both her undergraduate degree and a doctorate in modern history from Oxford. Before coming to Yale in 2001, she served at several British institutions, including the British Library, where she was director of special collections, as well as the Institute for Historical Research at London University and the National Archives.

“I am honored and delighted to have been chosen as the next Principal of Somerville College,” Prochaska said in a statement. “I am sad about leaving Yale University Library, where I will have worked for nine years with a wonderfully talented and dedicated group of staff, but I know my colleagues will understand the tug of affection and loyalty that I feel in returning to Oxford.”

University President Richard Levin praised Prochaska on Friday for her accomplishments over the past eight years, which included a significant push toward digitizing many of the library’s resources and the $47 million renovation of the Bass Library.

“This is a tremendous honor for Alice, and although we will miss her at Yale, her new position provides her with a remarkable opportunity for leadership at her alma mater,” Levin said in a statement. “During her eight years as our University Librarian, Alice has provided conspicuous leadership in advancing Yale’s library system — although she would be the first to say that it is not her work, but that of the Library staff that should be credited.”

As university librarian, Prochaska oversees the 22 individual libraries that make up the Yale University Library. Altogether, the library system employees some 600 staff members and, with approximately 13 million volumes, is the second largest academic library in the world.

Prochaska, who will go on research leave in January before assuming her new post the following autumn, will become the second top administrator to leave New Haven for Oxford in as many years. Former Provost Andrew Hamilton will become Oxford’s vice chancellor in September.

Somerville, which has an enrollment of 500 students, was founded in 1879 as a non-denominational college for women and began admitting men in 1993.

Comments

  • Trumbull Alum '92

    Yet another Oxford grab from Yale's talent pool!

  • Townie

    ZZZZZZzzzzzzZZZZZZZzzzzzz

  • Monica Young

    Congratulations. My husband and I met in the Polk-Wisdom Library in Dallas, TX when we were four and five. Reading programs and libraries are essential to the developement of all people. Good Luck in the future Mrs. Alice Prochaska.

  • Y07

    Alice was wonderful, for those few undergraduate who had interactions with her. Somerville is luck to have her. All the best.

  • Library services lacking, getting worse

    They really need to hire a better librarian in her place. Maybe its not her fault, but half of the libraries on campus that I have used have closed since coming here and the ones that are still open have terrible service. I went to the medical library on a weekend afternoon during the semester, and there was no one there to help patrons navigate the stacks. They wouldn't even get out of their chair.