Scholar Jeffrey MacKie-Mason named next university librarian

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Jeffrey MacKie-Mason was named the new university librarian in an email Friday from Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele.

Replacing current university librarian Tom Leonard, MacKie-Mason will be responsible for overseeing the library system at UC Berkeley, which includes Doe, Moffitt and Bancroft libraries, as well as 18 subject-specialty branches housed on campus. His first day will be Oct. 1.

MacKie-Mason holds a doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has worked in the public university system for a majority of his professional career. Since 2010, he served as the dean of the University of Michigan School of Information, where he received a master’s degree in public policy in 1982. He has since taught economic and public policy classes and written on the digital evolution of research libraries. Several of his publications focus on cost and finances associated with digital scholarship.

MacKie-Mason said several key areas for improving the current system include increasing information literacy among students and faculty, fully renovating Moffitt Library so that it can become “the best learning meet-up space on campus” and improving accessibility of digital scholarship.

“The libraries on campus are crossroads for connected, networked learning,” he said. “They should be vibrant places.”

His commitment to strengthening electronic collections and his wide-ranging publication record on the subject has also earned him the official title of chief digital scholarship officer, Steele said in the announcement email.

MacKie-Mason will be moving to the Bay Area with his wife, Janet Netz, who grew up in El Cerrito and graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in economics before earning her doctorate in Michigan.

Meanwhile, Leonard, who has served for 15 years and whose last day as university librarian will be June 30, said he has spoken with MacKie-Mason at length and is confident in his successor’s ability to do the job. The soon-to-be retiree said that he does not think MacKie-Mason needs any advice but that new resources and technologies should be used.

Leonard will remain on campus and has plans to teach a journalism seminar on the Mumbai slums of India next year.

Taking over for Leonard until October, when MacKie-Mason officially begins, will be Associate University Librarians Beth Dupuis and Erik Mitchell. The temporary co-directors said they will not be making any big changes to the library during their brief tenure.

“We view our role as keeping the doors open and the lights on, and making sure we have a great launch for fall,” Mitchell said. “Everyone is really excited about (MacKie-Mason) coming on board.”

When asked why he applied for the position, MacKie-Mason said, “The opportunity to help improve information services for students and faculty at one of the world’s very best public universities was just too exciting to pass up.”

Contact Gillian Edevane at [email protected].