March 11th, 2000
By SAM WILKINSON
After being lead by interim dean Myra Lowe, West Virginia Libraries have a new permanent dean, Frances O’Brien.
Effective June 16, O’Brien will take over for Lowe, who has served in an interim role since last July. Lowe took over for Dr. Ruth Jackson, who stepped down in July of 1998.
O’Brien, who currently serves as the deputy university librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has also served as director of administrative services at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, as well as working at the University of Tennessee Library, the University of Georgia, the University of Delaware and Virginia Tech
She is a member of the American Library Association, and has authored articles on library personnel issues.
O’Brien will be responsible to oversee the $30 million dollar expansion of WVU Libraries facilities, including $21 million to be spent on a new addition that will house paper volumes and information technology. It will also house computer centers. It will be built in front of Wise Library and will be completed in 2001.
Other projects that she will be responsible for include the Evansdale Library, renovation of the the Wise Library to support the West Virginia Regional History Collection and a new repository facility.
O’Brien was unavailable for comment, but WVU Provost Gerald Lang, who made the final decision, was, and he described O’Brien as an individual with “a high level of competence with regard to the oversight of WVU libraries as they evolve into the mix between electronic and printed resources.”
“She is also very patron-oriented, and she will work to provide high level services to our faculty and students that can use those services to further engage in their own personal scholarship,” Lang said.
Before she was selected, O’Brien and all other candidates, were on campus for meetings with library faculty, staff and administration and also meetings with WVU administration and deans.
“All candidates had to interview with various components of the campus,” Lang said.
He made his final decision using input from the search committee with the faculty and staff input, as well as reference checks.
“There were a couple of very strong candidates,” Lang said. “The search committee did a good job of making a difficult choice for me.”
Lang said that he feels comfortable with O’Brien taking over the post.
Interim Dean Lowe takes over her previous position after O’Brien takes over on June 16.