Dean of University Libraries Barbara Dewey to retire August 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State has announced that Barbara I. Dewey, Penn State’s dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, will retire in August 2020 after a 45-year career in librarianship.

Barbara Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications at Penn State. Credit: Penn State / Penn StateCreative Commons

As the leader of Penn State's information resources enterprise since 2010, Dewey serves as the official representative and advocate for the University Libraries and Penn State Press and oversees approximately 500 full-time faculty and staff. The University Libraries comprise the Pattee and Paterno Library; four branch libraries at the University Park campus and libraries at 22 Commonwealth Campuses; Media Technology Support Services; Penn State Press; and the University Records Management Program.

“It has been (and continues to be) an incredible honor to lead the Penn State Libraries,” said Dewey. “Together we have accomplished a great deal, with a sharp focus on student and faculty success, along with strong community and commonwealth outreach.”

“For nearly a decade, Barbara has been an extraordinary leader of the University Libraries, which are ranked among the best at public research institutions nationwide,” said Nick Jones, Penn State’s executive vice president and provost. “The University Libraries represent the heart of Penn State, with countless programs that support our tripartite mission of teaching, research and service. We are grateful for Barbara’s commitment to excellence and the immense pride she takes in supporting that mission and the needs of our students, faculty and staff. She will be sorely missed, and we wish her all the best.”

During her tenure as dean, Dewey oversaw the transformation of spaces in the Pattee and Paterno Libraries, including the award-winning Knowledge Commons, an innovative collaboration between the Libraries and Penn State Information Technology Services that helps students develop foundational knowledge and skills to optimize their use of library resources and services, and the Collaboration Commons and Central Atrium, a four-story expansion and ground-floor renovation completed in August 2019.

She has provided key leadership for Penn State’s involvement in open educational resources (OER) and the advancement of Open Access at Penn State. She also heads the Libraries’ efforts to advance digital scholarship through such initiatives as the University’s digital research and scholarly repository, ScholarSphere, and the creation of the future Center for Immersive Experiences.

A priority of hers is advancing diversity initiatives, including the implementation of a diversity residency program at the Libraries. In 2014 she received the Council of College Multicultural Leadership Way Paver Award, given to those who have contributed to supporting diversity initiatives that have positively enhanced student life and the climate throughout the college and local community, while maintaining a high level of character and leadership. 

Dewey previously was dean of libraries at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville from 2000 to 2010. She also has held several administrative positions at the University of Iowa’s libraries, and prior to that held positions at Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science, Northwestern University Libraries, and Minnesota Valley Regional Library in Mankato, Minnesota. She is the author or editor of seven books and has published numerous articles and presented papers on research library topics, including leadership, digital libraries, technology, user education, publishing, fundraising, diversity, organizational change and human resources.

She holds a master of arts in library science, a bachelor of arts in sociology/anthropology from the University of Minnesota, and a public management certificate from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

In retirement, Dewey plans to travel for pleasure and spend time with family and friends.

“I will miss the awesome librarians and staff from around the commonwealth who make this library one of the best in the world,” she said. “I will also miss our University partners and collaborators who have helped us implement some of the most innovative initiatives out there.

“Penn State has been a tremendous experience and the capstone to my career,” said Dewey. “I couldn’t be happier, and I will always be Penn State Proud."

Last Updated October 14, 2019