University Librarian K. Matthew Dames Leaving, Interim Is Appointed
Associate librarian Mark P. Newton will fill in while a national search is conducted
K. Matthew Dames, who has served as Boston University Librarian since July 2018, will step down effective July 16 to join the University of Notre Dame as the Edward H. Arnold University Librarian. BU will conduct a national search for Dames’ replacement, and in the meantime, Mark P. Newton, associate University librarian for digital strategies and innovations, will fill the post on an interim basis.
Dames came to BU in 2018 from his post as Georgetown University associate university librarian for scholarly resources and services, succeeding Robert Hudson, who retired after more than 40 years at BU. Dames managed efforts to modernize services, consolidate the University’s archival collections, and most recently, support the needs of faculty, staff, and students during the implementation of the Learn from Anywhere hybrid learning and teaching model during the coronavirus pandemic. He has also played an important role in BU’s strategic planning process, helping to position BU Libraries for key investments in modernization and renovation.
“We are grateful to Matthew for his leadership over the last three years and to Mark, who has been helping to drive a host of important innovations at the Libraries, for stepping in to lead during this transition,” says Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer.
“Not to be left out of this are our dedicated Libraries staff, who have continued to provide outstanding service meeting the research needs of our community over this last year,” Morrison says. “The Libraries are positioned to see major advances in technology and the user experience in the years ahead, and the team we have in place is critical to that.”
BU has 10 libraries holding more than 2.2 million titles and more than a million serials (including physical and digital journal subscriptions), as well as 425 databases, Newton says. He has been part of the BU Libraries leadership since 2019, as its chief technology officer with a program portfolio that includes oversight of BU Libraries digital scholarship services, its physical and digital collections, and its liaison and instructional services to BU’s learning and research communities.
“I look forward to advancing our library services to the BU community in the weeks and months to come,” Newton says. “We have an exciting agenda ahead for the expansion of our digital services in partnership with our research and learning communities, and the BU Libraries staff will be ready once again this fall to meet with students and faculty, both in person and online, to connect them with the right resources and information at the right time.”
“It has been very uplifting to see the way our library staff have come together through the difficult last year and a half to innovate and keep library services operational and functioning and at a very high level,” he says.
He cites how the University’s libraries pivoted to focus on access to digital resources to better engage with remote learners, opened up access to volumes in the closed stacks through BU Libraries 2 Go, and expanded the availability of remote information consultations over Zoom.
“Our staff are eager to adapt and continue innovating these service approaches, both virtually and across our branches, as we look ahead to the return to regular campus operations this fall,” Newton says.
Prior to joining BU, Newton was director of digital scholarship at Columbia University Libraries after holding a position at Purdue University Libraries.
He has also authored several articles on digital library services and recently served as editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. He holds a master’s degree in library and information science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“We are working to develop the search process for a permanent University Librarian and will share more details in the coming weeks,” Morrison says. “Through the search process, we will enlist the input of the University community as we work to further the vision of the Libraries as a modern and vibrant hub for collaborative, interdisciplinary research.”