Beginning July 1, University Librarian Susan Gibbons will take on a new leadership role focusing on fostering connections between the University’s collections and using them to further Yale’s goals as an educational and research institution.
In addition to the university librarianship — which she took on in 2011 — Gibbons has served as deputy provost for collections and scholarly communications since 2016. In this role, she has spearheaded research efforts in digital preservation to increase the accessibility of library materials in teaching. According to a June 13 email from University President Peter Salovey, Gibbons’ leadership role will expand to “further connect the university’s world-class collections with our mission of education, research, preservation, and practice,” taking her responsibilities beyond the library and extending them to collections at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at West Campus, Yale University Art Gallery, Yale Center for British Art, Yale Peabody Museum and Yale University Press.
“We are now elevating work to a level that cuts across widely disparate collections and across organizational boundaries,” Gibbons wrote in an email to the News. “Collaboration between museums and libraries is happening on a number of academic campuses, but the potential scale and impact of such a collaboration at Yale is unique because of the unusual breadth and depth of Yale collections.”
Gibbons said she is most excited about the potential for deeper cross-collections collaboration between Yale’s museums, galleries and libraries to enhance and expand teaching and research opportunities at the University.
Gibbons explained that she and her museum director colleagues have already selected and started several major projects that she will continue to work on in her new role as vice provost. These include technological research and development to create a “cross-collection discovery system” and creating a common image standard that will “greatly facilitate the use of digital images from across our disparate image repositories,” she said. According to Gibbons, other projects include exploring shared collection storage and study centers at West Campus and potentially expanding shared services, facilities, and staff to preserve and conserve Yale’s physical and digital collections.
“In her expanded role as vice provost, Susan will lead campus-wide, national, and global conversations about integrating cultural heritage resources in teaching and research,” Salovey wrote in his email. “She will accelerate our collections strategy by developing and implementing initiatives for sharing technology, storage, conservation, preservation, and teaching programs across the university’s collections.”
A search advisory committee, headed by Latin professor Christina Kraus and assisted by a search firm, will “conduct extensive outreach” to the Yale community and flag the candidates best suited for the librarianship, Salovey’s email read. Gibbons will continue running the University’s libraries until her successor is chosen.
Gibbons highlighted that many of the initiatives she and others are working to implement across the full span of Yale’s collections were first piloted in the libraries.
“Without the exceptional work of many library colleagues, this next level of collaboration would not be possible, and I look forward to working with them in my new capacity,” she said.
Asha Prihar | firstname.lastname@example.org .