January 28, 2022

Interview with Lorraine Haricombe, New Director of UT-Austin Library System

Lorraine Haricombe moved to the University of Texas-Austin from Lawrence, Kansas where she was the Dean of Libraries at the University of Kansas.

We posted about her new job (it began on February 1, 2015) when it was first announced on October 2, 2014.

Today, The Acalde (an publication/web site for UT alumni) posted an interview with Haricombe.

You can read the complete Q&A style interview with Harricombe here.

Here are two exchanges from the interview.

Q. There’s a common idea of librarians as shy, quiet people who spend their days cataloging books. Is that a misconception?

Harricombe: That is a very traditional, romantic view of what librarians do. And there are some librarians like that, but I’m not one of them. I believe that we need to be out there and be the face of research. I would like to raise the visibility of UT Libraries as a critical component of the university’s mission. That’s very different than just saying ‘We support your teaching and your research.’ I want our librarians to be integrally involved.

Our job is changing so fast. I think we should be open to hiring people who don’t necessarily have library science training. If we bring in people with PhDs and subject knowledge, or people with data skills and communication skills, they may help us in new ways. Of course, I think library science training is very valuable; I have a [Master’s of Library Science] and a PhD myself. But I’m open to other approaches as well.

Q. Some people might think they don’t need a librarian’s help, since so much information is easily searchable online. What’s your response to them?

Harricombe: You could just go to Google, sure. But we can do much more than that. We can develop and build tools that will make things easier, and we have expertise in researching and making information discoverable. I’m always surprised when researchers discover, often times too late, how they could have been more effective if they had contacted a librarian.

Read the Complete Interview

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.