Catherine Murray-Rust Named Dean of Libraries
Following a national search, Georgia Tech has named Catherine Murray-Rust to the position of dean of Libraries. She will succeed Richard Meyer, who previously announced in December his intention to retire. She is scheduled to start August 15, 2008.
Most recently, Murray-Rust has served as dean of libraries at Colorado State University, where she oversaw five facilities with more than 2 million volumes and a staff of 30 library faculty members, 70 support personnel and more than 100 student employees. In response to challenges that she foresees facing academic research libraries-an institution she says is still largely entrenched in its 19th-century roots-a main focus of her tenure at Colorado State was transforming the mission and perception of the library, as well as expanding and utilizing the library's technological strengths, including the development of digital applications and user-centered services.
During her May 5 presentation at Georgia Tech, Murray-Rust outlined these challenges. The main hurdle, she says, is changing how faculty and students view the role and responsibilities of the library. "We need to shift the focus from things-the collection, technology-to the people these things are intended to serve," she says.
Academic research libraries must make the move to partner on 'forward-looking projects' in addition to advocating for library services and collections. Moving toward digital planning, research and production is a must, she adds, as is participation in information policy-making. The successful research library will offer, in Murray-Rust's estimation, 'meta-librarians' and information 'extension agents,' willing to foresee users' needs and provide scholarly research for a wider audience. Tech already has made significant strides in this area, Murray-Rust said, adding the challenge will be to continue striving and moving forward, 'on a day-by-day strategy.'
"I'm delighted to bring Catherine's vision and experience to the libraries of Georgia Tech," said Provost Gary Schuster. "Thanks to Dean Meyer's leadership, the library is well-positioned for the next phase of growth and innovation and Catherine is the right person to build upon our progress."
Prior to her Colorado State University tenure, Murray-Rust served as associate university librarian for Public Services and Innovative Technology at Oregon State from 1999 to 2003. After serving as a reference librarian, technology trainer and associate university librarian, she ended her 21-year experience at Cornell as director of campus delivery for the university's project 2000. From 1973 to 1977, she worked for Reuters News Agency and Oxfam/VOCAD in London.
Murray-Rust's diverse educational background includes a charter in Librarianship from the Library Association of Great Britain (1976), a graduate diploma in Library and Information Studies from the University of London (1974) and a bachelor's degree in political science and history from Mount Holyoke College. She also completed graduate studies in international nutrition from Cornell University (1979), conducted graduate coursework and independent study in African politics and international relations at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania (1971-72) and participated in an internship with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (1969).