Connie Vinita Dowell, Vanderbilt University’s first dean of libraries, who worked tirelessly to expand the library system’s mission, modernize its facilities and services, and create a welcoming and engaging environment, will retire July 31, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Richard McCarty announced.
Dowell returned in 2009 to the campus where she had earned her master of library science from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College.
In her message to library staff April 8, she said, “I owe my career to this institution, and I am so honored to end my career here. This experience has produced memories that are even more treasured than those of my earlier time here as a student. They are the best possible gift anyone could take into retirement. I will not be leaving Vanderbilt, only my position as dean of libraries.”
During her nearly six years at Vanderbilt, Dowell oversaw an extensive $6 million renovation of the Central Library, making it notably more user-friendly. She changed policy to allow food and drink in the library system and opened a café, Food for Thought, in the Central Library.
“Our libraries should be as welcoming and comfortable as possible,” Dowell said about allowing food and drink. “For our students who often study late into the evening, this is an especially important policy change.”
Jody Combs, associate dean of libraries, will serve as interim dean of libraries from Aug. 1 through June 30, 2015. A search for Dowell’s successor will be launched during the fall 2014 semester.
Vanderbilt’s Dean of Libraries, Connie Vinita Dowell, Announces Retirement
Filed by April 10, 2014on