Meet Interim University Librarian
Gerald R. Lowell
Gerald "Jerry" R. Lowell began his new job as Interim University Librarian on June 1, joining the UCI Libraries at a time that is full of opportunities and challenges. In this issue, Jerry begins his “Ruminations” column that will be featured in each edition.
RUMINATIONS... by Jerry Lowell
University Librarian Jerry Lowell
Greetings from Langson Library. This is my first column written to you as Interim University Librarian at UC Irvine. I was recruited to lead the UCI Libraries for the next 2-3 years, following the retirement of Gerry Munoff. Over the course of my career, I have held leadership positions at the Yale University Library and the Library of Congress, and have served as University Librarian at UC San Diego and at UC Berkeley. I have also been fortunate to have served as the chief administrative officer for UC's system-wide Education Abroad Program and as the Assistant Dean at UCI's Claire Trevor School of the Arts. My return to libraries after an absence of a decade has been more enjoyable and satisfying than I had ever predicted it would be.
Throughout this past decade, the digital arena has continued its explosive effect on managing access to information and knowledge. In increasingly complex ways, library professionals are challenged to provide access to electronic resources through complicated licensing arrangements; to provide education and instruction so our users can find relevant digital resources and learn how to evaluate the quality and timeliness of these resources; and to address preservation issues associated with born-digital information, while at the same time continuing to manage print collections not in digital form.
The Libraries have also witnessed an onslaught of economic challenges no different than those faced by other programs throughout UCI, UC, California, and the country. Over the past two years, the UCI Libraries have had $4M cut from our budget and we've lost over 40 positions through attrition, to address, in part, that budget cut.
However, challenge and uncertainty can also spawn resilience and creativity. Our energy, dedication, and commitment to the communities we serve remain strong and vibrant. Our hopes and plans have not diminished. For example, we are now designing library web pages for mobile, hand-held devices, creating a state-of-the-art Learning Commons in our Science Library, nurturing the growth of our unique special collections. We are restructuring internally to recognize the demands of the digital environment and to create a more nimble organization that can rapidly respond to the latest technological advancements.
So, at this important juncture for us, I extend a deeply felt thank you to all of you—our supporters and friends—for the ongoing support that you provide us. Your generosity and dedication to the UCI Libraries inspires us even more to be a premier provider of information resources to our students, faculty, staff, and community members.
I look forward to becoming acquainted with as many of you as is possible during these coming months and to thank you personally for your ongoing support. Working together, we will continue to make the UCI Libraries the vibrant hub that it is for UCI, Orange County, southern California, UC, the state, and the nation.
Gerald R. Lowell
Interim University Librarian