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Joseph Meisel named University Librarian

Former Deputy Provost adds new perspective, aims to connect library with academic depts.

The University appointed former Deputy Provost Joseph Meisel as University Librarian following his two-month stint as the interim librarian.

The University Librarian is responsible for approximately 125 staff members, the allocation of the library’s budget and the consolidation of information resources. The role of University librarian “struck (Meisel) as a terrific opportunity” because it is an “important job at the University” that “touches all faculty and students,” Meisel said.

Meisel was named University Librarian by Provost Richard Locke P ’18 Oct. 29. Locke was especially impressed with Meisel’s “ability to deal with strategic planning (and) integrat(e) the library with the rest of the University,” he said.

Meisel, who served the University as deputy provost for eight years, described himself as  “somebody within the upper academic administration who understands the University’s academic missions and goals.”

Meisel’s prior experience overseeing grants and networking with University administrators as a program officer at the Mellon Foundation provides him “a perspective about the University … that is really important,” said Deputy University Librarian Nora Dimmock. Meisel will also draw on this work to better align his vision with ‘Building on Distinction,’ the University’s 10-year strategic plan, she added.

Meisel also has extensive experience with “temporary leadership” after serving as interim librarian, he said, a position in which he relied on library staff to show him the ropes. He has tried to meet “one on one with every member of the staff. … This has been tremendously educational,” he added.

Locke and President Christina Paxson P ’19 heard that Meisel “was doing such a great job from members of the library” as interim librarian and decided to make his appointment permanent.

One of Meisel’s key changes as interim librarian was the creation of a diversity and equity and inclusion training program for library staff, Dimmock said.

Looking ahead, Meisel will “connect the library even more strongly with academic opportunities on campus,” Meisel said. He hopes to do so through meeting with leaders like department chairs to understand their priorities.

Meisel said he has become increasingly aware that the “library is a critical aspect of realizing Brown’s academic mission” of supporting research and advances in academia.



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