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University libraries’ Mavrinac era coming to a close

February 10, 2021

Nationally recognized as a leader among research libraries, Mary Ann Mavrinac transformed River Campus resources and spaces.

Mary Ann Mavrinac

Mary Ann Mavrinac, Vice Provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean, River Campus Libraries. (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

For the better part of the last decade, a large portion of the University of Rochester’s extensive range of learning and research services, study spaces, and world-renowned collections have fallen under the purview of Mary Ann Mavrinac, vice provost and the Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of the University of Rochester Libraries. After nine years of leadership and commitment to the advancement of Rochester libraries and scholarly resources, Mavrinac is retiring.

Mavrinac will continue to carry out her duties as dean until the end of October. In the meantime, the University will conduct a national search to find her successor.

Rob Clark, University provost and senior vice president for research, acknowledged the indelible mark Mavrinac’s leadership has left on the River Campus Libraries.

“Her vision has helped create distinctive spaces that have redefined what our libraries are and how our students and faculty use them,” said Clark. “Apart from the spaces and sense of community Mary Ann built, she led our efforts to assure that our libraries were current and that they embraced the digital nature of its future for the 21st century. Her leadership and team have provided an outstanding foundation for whomever assumes the role in the future.”

Mavrinac joined the University in June of 2012 and was formally installed as the Neilly Dean in December of the same year. Prior to joining Rochester, she served as chief librarian at the University of Toronto Mississauga. There, she spearheaded the planning and oversaw the completion of the award-winning Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre. Her achievements at Toronto made her a recognized leader in the creation of inspiring learning spaces. It wasn’t long before the University began reaping the benefits of her expertise.

Soon after her arrival in Rochester, Mavrinac initiated the Rush Rhees Library Revitalization Project, a 10-year facilities and master plan, and a five-year strategic plan to transform the River Campus Libraries into a collaborative hub for innovation—and that’s exactly what happened.

In 2016, Rush Rhees Library underwent a renovation that produced Evans Lam Square, a state-of-the-art gathering space where library patrons can get information, do research, and work together on projects. Two years later, another project built the Barbara J. Burger iZone, a problem-solving space, program, and community designed to empower students to explore and imagine ideas for social, cultural, community, and economic impact.

More recently, Mavrinac’s vision set into motion two more projects set to begin in May. Within Rush Rhees Library, the 24-hour Gleason Library will undergo a refresh—the first in its 13-year existence—that will inject new life into the space through a reimagined layout and more modern, function-focused furniture. Across the River Campus, at Carlson Science and Engineering Library, Studio X, the University’s hub for immersive technologies, is getting a dedicated physical space for students and faculty to experience, explore, and experiment through extended reality. Both spaces are scheduled to be completed this fall.

Beyond the capital projects, Mavrinac has overseen work in digital scholarship, open access, and scholarly communications. Last year, she helped realize the Carol ’74, Pʼ11 and Sarah ’11 Karp Library Fellows Program, a unique experiential leadership opportunity that offers students the chance to develop specialized skills that prepare them for their careers while they contribute to the success of their area of the library.

In 2007, Mavrinac was selected by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) as one of the 23 fellows for the association’s Research Library Leadership program. She went on to serve on ARL’s board from 2013 to 2019. In 2018, she served as president, making her the first from the University to hold the position. She also served as president of the Ontario Library Association—Canada’s largest library association—in 2010. Additionally, she has been an invited speaker and published extensively in the areas of leadership, library design, mentorship, and the future of libraries.

Mavrinac is the third recipient of the Neilly deanship. The position, which helps the University attract outstanding talent, was established in 2000 through a gift from University Life Trustee Andrew H. Neilly ’47 and his wife, Janet Dayton Neilly.

Read more

Mary Ann Mavrinac.Mary Ann Mavrinac new president of the Association of Research Libraries
Mavrinac started her term in 2017 as the new president of the national association, which represents 125 leading research libraries in the United States and Canada.
Rush Rhees Library adorned with colorful banners on a fall day.University of Rochester Libraries join HathiTrust
In 2015, the University of Rochester Libraries become a member of HathiTrust, a worldwide partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to preserve and provide access to the cultural record in digital form.
Mary Ann Mavrinac with her arm on the stairs inside Rush Rhees Library.Library dean honored with lifetime achievement award
Mavrinac was selected for the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario College and University Library Association.


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