Culshaw named University Librarian

John P. Culshaw, senior associate dean of libraries at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has been named university librarian for the University of Iowa, effective Aug. 1.

Culshaw joined the university libraries at CU-Boulder in 1991 as central reference librarian. From 1996 to 2008, he oversaw the libraries’ Systems Department, providing leadership and direction for information technology, media, and web services. In 2008 he was appointed associate director for administrative services. His position was renamed senior associate dean of libraries in 2011.

As senior associate dean, Culshaw provides administrative and budgetary leadership for libraries that have an annual budget of $20.9 million and staff in six physical locations. Responsible for all aspects of library facilities planning, he played a key role in the design and construction of a 16,000 square foot learning commons that opened in CU-Boulder’s Norlin Library in 2009.

Over the last year, he collaboratively led efforts to develop and implement a new organizational framework designed to help the university libraries move forward effectively while embracing the changing role of the research library nationally. He was a member of the 2011-12 cohort of the Association of Research Libraries’ Research Libraries Leadership Fellows program.

“I am excited about the future for research libraries,” Culshaw says. “The library must maintain its prominent place as the academic heart of the campus. Research libraries face multiple challenges in the coming years, particularly related to changing scholarly communication patterns, data management, and evolving instructional models. Libraries can turn these into opportunities by becoming more flexible service organizations. I am delighted that I will have the opportunity to contribute to that important, ongoing work at the University of Iowa.”

“John will be an excellent advocate for the university libraries at Iowa,” says UI Executive Vice President and Provost P. Barry Butler. “His collaborative leadership style, a strong vision for the future of the libraries, and a deep appreciation for and commitment to maintaining our unique, exceptional strengths make him a great fit for the position.”

Culshaw will succeed Nancy Baker, who has served as university librarian since 2000. Between July 5 and August 1, Paul Soderdahl, associate university librarian for information technology, will act as interim university librarian.

Culshaw’s appointment is subject to approval by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. His salary will be $225,000.

Culshaw was one of four finalists interviewed on campus in April by a search committee co-chaired by Steve Fleagle, associate vice president and chief information officer, and Richard Fumerton, professor of philosophy and past president of the UI Faculty Senate.

“The search committee worked hard to identify candidates with a demonstrated commitment to scholarship and research, and to serving students and faculty,” says Fleagle. “Mr. Culshaw’s on-campus interviews confirmed how strongly he holds those commitments, and also showed his ability to connect well with a wide range of internal and external constituents.”

As university librarian, Culshaw will provide leadership for University Libraries, one of the largest libraries in the United States. Its Main Library, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, five branch libraries, and off-site storage facilities offer access to more than five million volumes, extensive rare books and archives, time-based media collections, and digital content.

In fall 2013, a 37,000-square-foot Learning Commons—a unique partnership among Information Technology Services, University Libraries, and the Office of the Provost—will transform the first floor of the Main Library to provide flexible study spaces, a new TILE classroom, services and support, and more.