James Neal (pictured at right), the Sheridan Director of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, has been named to the new post of dean of university libraries.
The position was created to better coordinate efforts to move all university libraries into the world of information technology and to elevate the role of libraries within the academic community.
Neal will retain his responsibility for the management of the Sheridan Libraries, comprised of MSEL, the Peabody Library, the Garrett Collection at Evergreen, the Hutzler Undergraduate Reading Room and the Moravia Park facility.
He also more formally will provide leadership and coordination for East Baltimore's Welch Library and its branches, the Mason Library at SAIS, the Friedheim Library at Peabody and the libraries at the four Hopkins regional centers.
"This appointment builds upon the expanding work of the University Libraries Council that Neal chairs and that has enabled closer working relationships among the libraries in the areas of collection development, user services, electronic resources and technology planning," said President William R. Brody in a recent letter to deans and directors.
"This closer administrative integration will promote further coordinated work in the areas of policy and operations. It will enable the implementation of a shared vision and plan for the future development of the libraries at Hopkins, while sustaining and building upon the specialized library support for the individual schools," he said.
Steven Knapp, provost, said, "University libraries face enormous challenges and opportunities in the electronic age, which is rapidly changing the way information is stored and disseminated. The time has come to create a position that provides strategic leadership for our libraries as a group, and Jim Neal has been a strong and consistent leader, nationally and internationally, in envisioning the library of the future."
The directors of the Hopkins libraries will have a dual reporting relationship, both to the schools they serve and to the new dean of university libraries. The current funding models for the libraries will be retained.
Neal also will serve as a member of the university-wide Council of Deans, which meets monthly to discuss issues that affect students and faculty.
Neal came to Hopkins in 1995 after serving as dean of university libraries at Indiana University, where he administered a system of 57 libraries on eight campuses. He was previously assistant dean at Pennsylvania State University and earlier had held library posts at the University of Notre Dame and the City University of New York.
He graduated from Rutgers University in 1969 with a degree in Russian studies and earned a master of arts in history at Columbia University in 1972 and a master of library science there the following year.
Neal serves on the executive board of the American Library Association and was 1998 president of the Association of Research Libraries. He is active internationally as speaker, consultant and author in the areas of information technology, scholarly publishing and intellectual property. He was selected in 1997 as the Academic/Research Librarian of the Year in the United States by the Association of College and Research Libraries.