Anne Kenney, a specialist in library archival and digital development, has been appointed Cornell’s 11th Carl A. Kroch University Librarian, in charge of managing Cornell’s 20 libraries and the more than 7.5 million volumes stacked inside. Kenney has served as the interim University librarian since Feb. 2007.
“The position of University librarian is one of the most significant at the University. Given the changing role of the library, it is crucial that our University librarian be thoughtful, imaginative and forward-looking. I believe Anne Kenney has those qualities,” Provost Biddy Martin stated in an e-mail.
Kenney has vast experience in the digital and archival communities. Her work in developing standards for library digitalization has been adopted by notable organizations, such as JSTOR and the Scholarly Journal Archive.
Kenney is also a fellow and past president of the Society of American Archivists, serves on the Social Science Research Council’s Committee on Libraries and Archives of Cuba, and is a commissioner of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Kenney was also a member of the Clinton/Gore presidential transition team.
Kenney came to Cornell in 1987 and worked in the Department of Preservation and Conservation, eventually becoming the director of the program in 2001.
In 2002, Kenney became the University librarian for Instruction Research and Information Services. During her tenure, she implemented noticeable changes such as 24-hour access to Uris Library, extended hours of both Olin and the Engineering Library and a book drop-off service in Robert Purcell Community Center.
“The library can be a really important part of students’ success academically. We want to do what it takes to help you succeed,” Kenney said.
In 2007, Kenny took over as interim librarian after Sarah Thomas left to become Bodley’s librarian and the director of University Library Services at Oxford.
“[Kenney is] internationally renowned for her leadership in digital preservation and has had enormous success in getting grants ... I hope Cornell and Oxford can partner on a library initiative so we’ll have the chance to work together again,” Thomas stated in an e-mail.
Kenney accepted the position as the new University librarian earlier this month.
“I was both honored and humbled by [the offer]. If the staff weren’t just so excellent, it would be a pretty daunting position to take,” Kenney said.
During the five-year term as University librarian, Kenney hopes to improve the condition of Olin Library, respond to the needs of the library users and continue to raise money for the capital campaign.
The capital campaign is a University-wide effort to raise more than $4 billion by 2015 in order to make Cornell the best research university for undergraduate education and to set the standard for interdisciplinary education. According to Kenney, the library system will receive $60 million of the money raised.
“I’ll be spending a lot of my time looking at and meeting with alumni and potential donors to educate them about the needs of the library and looking for good matches of people’s interest and our needs,” Kenney said.
Kenney also hopes to make library resources available to students regardless of time and place. She will continue working with the digitalization initiative, networking Cornell’s materials in order to increase accessibility.
“Within five years, we’ll have over one million books in the Cornell library system available in digital form,” Kenney said.
Kenney’s appointment is still subject to approval by the Executive Committee of Cornell’s Board of Trustees later this month, although Martin said she is confident that the committee will confirm the appointment.