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Sarah Pritchard Named University Librarian at Northwestern

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March 30, 2006

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Sarah Pritchard, University Librarian at the University of California, Santa Barbara, (UCSB), has been appointed the Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian at Northwestern University.

Her appointment will begin in September, it was announced by University Provost Lawrence B. Dumas. She will succeed David Bishop, who is retiring after serving in the position since 1992.

Dumas said, “We feel fortunate to have recruited to Northwestern a person who will ensure that we continue to meet the challenges of these dynamic times. The past decade has been a time of dramatic change for academic research libraries like ours.  New technologies have presented libraries with extraordinary new opportunities; and along with those developments have come new demands from the users of the library’s information resources.”

Pritchard has served as University Librarian at UCSB since 1999. She manages two libraries on the campus and two offsite facilities, including collections of nearly 3 million volumes and a staff of 175. Among her campus-wide activities is service on the UCSB committees related to academic planning, technology policy, scholarly communication and K-12 outreach.  

At UCSB she has expanded digital information initiatives and special collections; initiated new collaborations to support faculty in diverse disciplines; made numerous enhancements in public services; increased the library’s development and community outreach activities; and secured campus commitment for a three-story library building addition. Under her leadership the UCSB Libraries have launched major digital preservation and collection initiatives in the areas of maps, sound recordings, and graphic arts, and established authoritative archival collections for noted authors, national organizations, and three Nobel scientists.

Before joining UCSB, she was the Director of Libraries at Smith College for seven years, overseeing four libraries and a collection of 1.4 million volumes, the largest library of any American undergraduate institution.

At both UCSB and Smith, Pritchard has been centrally involved in inter-institutional collaboration which has become increasingly important for libraries nationwide. At UCSB she was a key member of groups planning systemwide library development for the University of California; at Smith she worked closely with the four other institutions comprising the Five College consortium. In both states she has been a leader in the development of statewide cooperative library networks, Dumas said, and was appointed by the governor to the board of the Library of California.

Pritchard received her bachelor of arts degree with high honors from the University of Maryland, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and holds graduate degrees in French and in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She began her professional career in 1977 at the Library of Congress where she was a reference librarian in the Main Reading Room and the specialist for women's studies. She also undertook special assignments in collection development, instruction, automation, facilities planning, preservation, and labor relations. In 1988, she was appointed Head of the Library of Congress Microform Reading Room. 

In 1988 she was also selected for the Council on Library Resources' Academic Library Management Internship and spent nine months at Princeton University. In 1990 she joined the staff at the Association of Research Libraries as associate executive director, with responsibility for program and policy coordination, national library statistics, publishing, conference and systems management.

Dumas said that Pritchard has a record of distinguished service to professional associations and national collaborative projects. She was elected to three terms as a member of the Council of the American Library Association and has chaired several central ALA governance and policy committees.

She was a senior trustee of the Leroy C. Merritt Humanitarian Foundation, which makes special grants to librarians suffering job loss as a result of employment discrimination or First Amendment challenges. She has been active in the Center for Research Libraries and the Coalition for Networked Information, and this year was elected to the national steering committee of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

Pritchard has been an advisor for many scholarly editorial boards, publishing projects and grant reviews. She is the author of the Research Library Group Conspectus in Women's Studies and The Women's Annual 1983-1984 and was editor of the ARL Statistics and Salary Survey for 1990 and 1991. She has published over 60 articles and reviews and has lectured and consulted in North America, Europe and Asia on women's studies, digital systems, collection development, library management and other professional issues.

In 1997, she was named as the recipient of the American Library Association Equality Award for leadership in advancing women's issues in the library profession and as the Alumna of the Year by the University of Wisconsin School of Library and Information Studies. In 2001, she was selected by the Association of College and Research Libraries to receive the Career Achievement Award in Women's Studies.

Dumas expressed his appreciation to the search committee, led by Robert Magee, professor of accounting information and management in the Kellogg School of Management, which conducted a national search to fill the position.

Topics: University