Tony Zanders joins Boston University Libraries as Inaugural Entrepreneur in Residence
As Boston University Libraries engage in a process of identifying its strategic priorities, we are focused on calibrating the organization and our approach to talent management to support research, teaching, and scholarship into 2030 and beyond. As part of this process, the Libraries announce that library software veteran Tony Zanders joins the BU Libraries team as Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). In this role, Zanders will provide executive counsel to the University Librarian during the academic strategic planning process while designing and implementing new approaches to recruitment, retention, and training that produce elite performance for the University and its Libraries. Zanders is the first EIR in the Libraries’ history.
Zanders has a proven track record of helping research libraries develop innovative solutions to leverage technology within the research workflow. He joins the Libraries from Camelback Ventures, where he served as Entrepreneur In Residence, working with black and brown founders on company strategy. While at Camelback, Zanders also began designing a new framework, called Skilltype, for organizations to use linked data and machine learning to address strategic organizational development issues like talent development, diversity, and succession planning. Work on Skilltype continues in research and development.
“I have been impressed with Tony’s expansive experience and sharp thinking about the challenges we face as an information enterprise and the solutions we can develop to produce sustained, replicable, and elite performance in service of the students, faculty, and staff here at BU,” said Dr. K. Matthew Dames, BU’s University Librarian. “Throughout our lengthy discussions about talent, organizational evolution, and diversity, Tony’s clear ideas and rigorous thinking have helped me cut through a lot of noise and sharpen my approach as we go through our strategic planning process. I anticipate Tony will provide huge value to our organization during his pioneering year as Entrepreneur In Residence.”
“The Libraries are revolutionizing the way knowledge organizations prepare for the future of work. As a technologist working alongside clients to navigate changes for the past decade, I’m excited by a rare opportunity to be on the ground floor of an organization as it embarks on an audacious path towards 2030 and beyond,” said Zanders. “Research libraries have been in a perpetual state of change as new services, responsibilities, and measurements are continually demanded by stakeholders. But the one constant in this new era is our people. I’m honored to help this team unlock their potential, future-proof for what’s to come, and create a blueprint for the community-at-large.”
Before Camelback, Zanders was Vice President of Global Customer Development at EBSCO, where he advised libraries on software integrations across more than 30 countries. While at EBSCO, Zanders played an instrumental role in the company’s participation in the FOLIO community consulting over a dozen of the community’s early partners on service models. Zanders also has served as Director of Customer Development at Ex Libris, a ProQuest company. While there, he was the liaison to the Ex Libris Users of North America (ELUNA) and was responsible for community engagement with the Ex Libris Alma development partners and early adopter community.
During Zanders’ appointment, he and the Libraries’ team will investigate methods to prepare for the future of work by leveraging expertise across various departments across the institution. Boston University is home to the Hariri Institute for Computational Science and the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, which are cross-institutional academic units that offer an optimal environment for designing the future of work in libraries.
“Tony has seen what I began to see when I came on board last summer: BU is poised to ascend even higher and the Libraries can be an X factor in catalyzing that process,” Dames said. “The work I anticipate Tony will contribute in his EIR role will help move the Libraries and University forward in significant ways for years to come.”