LSU Libraries Assistant Dean Elaine Smyth to Serve as Interim Dean, Effective March 1
BATON ROUGE – Elaine Smyth, current assistant dean of LSU Libraries, will assume the role of interim dean of LSU Libraries, effective March 1. She will take the place of current LSU Libraries Dean Jennifer Cargill, who will retire on Feb. 28 after leading LSU Libraries for more than 20 years.
“Dean Cargill has left a great legacy, not only through her work in helping to establish the statewide Louisiana Online University Information System network, or LOUIS, but also in bringing together a great faculty and staff in the libraries,” Smyth said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work with them to build on that legacy and continue to improve library services, even in these times of austerity.”
Smyth has worked with LSU Libraries since 1988, when she joined the faculty as the head of the libraries’ manuscripts processing unit. During her tenure with LSU Libraries, she has also served as curator and head of the Special Collections division and as interim assistant dean of libraries. She has served as assistant dean of libraries since July 2012. Prior to coming to LSU, Smyth worked in multiple capacities with Cornell University’s Olin Library.
Smyth received her Master of Librarianship degree from the University of Washington in 1979, previously obtaining a bachelor’s degree in French literature in 1974 from Colorado College, located in Colorado Springs, Colo. Her areas of expertise include history of the book, book arts, fine printing, and library administration and grant writing.
“With Dean Cargill’s support, we spent a fair amount of time and effort over the last year on strategic planning, and we are poised to move forward with changes and improvements,” Smyth said of LSU Libraries. “So when I discussed taking the interim position with Provost Stuart Bell, I was especially pleased that he expressed his understanding that library operations can’t be static during this transitional time, and his support for us taking well-considered actions that will keep the libraries moving forward. Having a responsive and engaged program of library services will make it easier for us to attract top talent when we start our national search for a new dean.”
During her 21-year tenure at LSU, Cargill played a leadership role in the development of the Louisiana Academic Libraries Information Network Consortium and the LOUIS consortium, which provides resources and services to libraries across the state. Both have had a positive impact on LSU and other academic and cultural heritage institutions in the state, and have been used as models around the country. She helped to garner more than $3.5 million in grant funds needed to support those efforts. Today, LOUIS negotiates and licenses statewide purchases for electronic scholarly resources on behalf of Louisiana public and private universities and colleges. The resources and services that LOUIS provides save the state nearly $8 million annually. She also established the system of library liaisons that serves as the framework for the extensive library services now offered at LSU.
Cargill is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 11 books, as well as numerous articles and book chapters. She has served on and chaired numerous committees in the American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries, as well as in various regional and state-wide professional organizations. In 1990, she was honored by LSU’s School of Library and Information Science as the Outstanding Alumna for the year, and she received the Louisiana Library Association’s Outstanding Academic Librarian Award in 1997.
About LSU Libraries
LSU Libraries, whose departments are housed in both Middleton Library and Hill Memorial Library, offers students and faculty strong support for instruction and research through collections containing more than 3 million volumes, microform holdings of more than 4 million, manuscripts of more than 12 million items, hundreds of electronic databases and tens of thousands of electronic books and serials. LSU was among the founding members of the LOUIS network, which provides access to most academic library catalogs in the state. LSU Libraries’ subject strengths include Louisiana materials, sugar culture and technology, Southern history, agriculture, petroleum engineering, plant pathology, natural history and various aspects of aquaculture including crawfish, wetlands research and marine biology. LSU Libraries belong to the Association of Research Libraries, which includes the top 113 academic libraries in the U.S. and Canada; the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, Lyrasis and the Louisiana Academic Library Information Network Consortium. To learn more, visit http://lib.lsu.edu.