University Librarian Appointment and University Archivist Renewal

May 27, 2011

On May 12, 2011, Provost Silverman sent a memo to Library staff announcing his decision to restart the search for a new University Librarian. The previous University Librarian (UL), Paul Wiens, stepped down last June and officially retired in October after serving for 19 years. The current UL, Martha Whitehead, was appointed by the Provost to an interim three-year term that began on July 1, 2010. In explaining his decision to restart the search now, the Provost cited the Library's progress in implementing its restructuring plan.

However, no official assessment of the new organizational structure has yet been conducted. The timeline and scope of the search are unclear, but the Provost has asked for comments by Friday, May 27, which suggests an accelerated process. In response, on May 17 the Queen's University Librarians and Archivists (QULA) sent a letter outlining our concerns about and views on the selection process. The membership of the Advisory Committee was published in the May 19 issue of For the Record.

For more background on the search for a new UL, see the Queen's University Librarians & Archivists website.

Furthermore, QULA is concerned by the speed with which the renewal process for the University Archivist has taken place, especially with a complete lack of representation by any member of the unit on the renewal committee. The last external review of the Archives occurred in 2004, and the renewal of the University Archivist is the most logical time for an examination of the progress made by the unit, and an evaluation of its future direction under the current leadership. It is unclear how well the Renewal Committee can adequately evaluate the effectiveness of the current University Archivist with neither an external review, nor representation of any members of the staff on the committee.

Queen's University Librarians and Archivists (QULA) Executive