The new year is bringing a new librarian to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Edwin C. Schroeder will serve a five-year term as Librarian of the Beinecke and Associate University Librarian, which began Jan. 1. Schroeder has filled a number of positions of increasing responsibility in Sterling Memorial Library and Beinecke library since arriving at Yale in 1989. He began as a catalogue librarian in Sterling, and most recently has been head of technical services for Beinecke library since 2004.
University President Richard Levin notified the Yale community of the appointment a Dec. 20 email, just five weeks after the death of University Librarian and former head of Beinecke library Frank Turner GRD ’71.
“E.C. looks forward to building on Frank Turner’s accomplishments,” Levin said in the e-mail. “We look forward to sustaining the unique excellence of the Beinecke.”
Levin added that Schroeder, who was the chair of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, brings an “impressive breadth of rare book and managerial experience” to his new post.
Pericles Lewis, a professor of English and comparative literature and the chair of the committee that recommended Schroeder, said the group began searching for a new Beinecke librarian when Turner, who was then the librarian of the Beinecke, was appointed University librarian in September. They expedited the process after Turner’s death to appoint a new Beinecke librarian within a month of his passing, Lewis said.
Schroeder said he will continue Turner’s efforts to build collections, digitize materials and provide students and faculty with resources for research.
“I have an intimate knowledge of the Beinecke and its operations and a great deal of enthusiasm for what we do,” he said.
Lewis said the committee considered both internal and external candidates for the job. Levin added that the choice of Schroeder was unanimous.
Acting University Librarian Jon Butler said he spoke with the search committee in December about the general requirements for a Beinecke librarian, and requested that the new leader be able to work very closely with the rest of the University libraries.
“I’m delightedly thrilled,” Butler said. “I think it’s a wonderful testament to the extraordinary professional staff at the library that [the University] chose an internal candidate. It shows the exceptionally high quality of Yale librarians.”
Butler said Schroeder is deeply committed to and knowledgeable about the library system, adding that he brings good organizational skills and an agreeable disposition to the post.
Under Schroeder’s direction, Butler said that he hopes Beinecke will attract more students and faculty to exhibits, programs, talks and classes held in the library.
“The Beinecke materials, all those beautiful books — all live when they are touched and engaged by students and faculty,” Butler said.
Schroeder has already made Beinecke materials more accessible to scholars through his efforts to expand digitization of the Beinecke’s collections, Levin said. Schroeder’s technical work has improved digital access to collections and facilitated the opening of two new off-site processing facilities.
Lewis said that while Schroeder’s work in technical services was mostly “backroom stuff,” he is confident that Schroeder’s managerial skills and the admiration he has fostered from his colleagues, along with his interest in the collection, will make him an effective leader.
“He himself is kind of a bookworm and a book collector,” Lewis said.
Schroeder earned a bachelor’s degree in history at the College of the Holy Cross in 1988 and an master’s degree in library science at the University of Ilinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1989.