January 18, 2012
Mary Ann Mavrinac named dean of River Campus Libraries
Mary Ann Mavrinac, the new vice provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of River Campus Libraries, “has a well-earned reputation for creating inspiring learning spaces, for developing critical new digital services, and for thinking strategically about the rapidly evolving field of information science,” says Joanna Olmsted, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
University of Toronto library leader Mary Ann Mavrinac has been named vice provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of River Campus Libraries, effective June 1.
“We are delighted to welcome such a dynamic and innovative colleague to guide our libraries,” says Joanna Olmsted, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and chair of the search committee for the new dean. “Mary Ann has a well-earned reputation for creating inspiring learning spaces, for developing critical new digital services, and for thinking strategically about the rapidly evolving field of information science.”
Mavrinac brings to the position a decade of experience as chief librarian at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus, part of the University of Toronto Libraries, which are ranked third among academic research libraries by the Association of Research Libraries. She was selected by the Association of Research Libraries in 2007–08 as one of 23 fellows for Research Library Leadership development and in 2010 served as president of the Ontario Library Association, Canada’s largest library association. She lectures widely on the future of libraries in the digital era and has published on such topics as “The e-book turning point: When/Will E-books Eclipse Print?” and “Opening Up the Textbook Market.”
“Mary Ann is the perfect match for Rochester,” says Provost Ralph Kuncl. “In addition to her many accomplishments, she is deeply committed to nurturing an environment of learning and to professional development for staff, which is essential to the continued success of our libraries in this digital age. I thank Joanna Olmsted as an extraordinary chair, our entire search committee, and trustee advisors for conducting the ideal search. The University is the beneficiary of this unparalleled service,” he says.
Mavrinac was selected following a nine-month search that included extensive advertising, wide solicitation of nominations, and individual contacts of more than 300 individuals by the professional search firm of Witt/Kieffer to identify qualified candidates. A 17-member University search committee, including faculty and representatives from across the institution, reviewed the final pool of 31 candidates, eventually bringing five finalists to campus. “We were fortunate to have such an outstanding group of highly qualified finalists, with Mary Ann ultimately emerging unmistakably as the University’s top choice,” Olmsted says.
At Toronto, Mavrinac spearheaded the planning and oversaw the completion of the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre, a state-of-the-art facility that since its opening in 2006 has become the academic hub of the campus, attracting more than 1.3 million visits per year. The center was recognized with an innovation achievement award from the Canadian Association of College and University Libraries and is now slated for a major expansion that will build upon such innovative spaces as a research garden project and technology discovery area.
On the digital front, Mavrinac has supervised support for the digital humanities, open access, and scholarly communications. Her team provides academic support for the campus Blackboard learning management system and is the go-to institution for video, podcasting, and emerging technologies.
To help students navigate databases and other online resources, Mavrinac led the development of an undergraduate credit course on scholarly research, now called “Foundations of Information Studies,” and her library reaches out to individual instructors to provide support in the classroom for information literacy.
At Rochester, Mavrinac will assume leadership of a library system with an excellent reputation for innovation and user-centered approaches. Libraries nationally and internationally have adopted Rochester’s anthropological approach to studying patrons to guide the creation of services and physical spaces that meet the changing needs of students and researchers. The River Campus Libraries also are pioneers in the development of new online tools for academics, such as the University’s digital repository for storing and sharing research, IR Plus, which is freely available to other institutions.
Mavrinac succeeds Susan Gibbons, who left in July 2011 to lead the Yale University Library. Currently, Katie Clark and Michael Bell are the interim co-deans of River Campus Libraries.
Before joining the University of Toronto, Mavrinac was head librarian of the D. B. Weldon Library at the University of Western Ontario Libraries. She holds two degrees—a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of education—from the University of Toronto. She earned a master of library science degree from the University of Western Ontario and in 2006 completed her doctorate in educational leadership and change from the Fielding Graduate University. She will be joined in Rochester by her husband, Peter van Schie, who is in the flower bulb industry.