University Librarian William Gosling will step down from his position on April 1, the University announced yesterday. After fully recovering from a major surgical operation a year ago, Gosling said he has not regained his previous energy level and decided to step down from the position.
Gosling has held the position of University Librarian for eight years, putting him at the head of 20 University libraries, including the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library and the Shapiro Undergraduate Library. During his term, the Library has undergone major technological change, including expanding its digital offerings and enhancing access to the materials in the collection with a new catalog system. Under Gosling’s leadership, the University was also one of five institutions selected by Google for a digital conversion of its entire collection.
A national search for a new librarian will start shortly, Courant said, beginning with nominations for membership on the search advisory committee and discussion of issues the Library will face over the next decade, said University Provost Paul Courant.
Gosling will move to a new position as curator of the Children’s Literature Collection in the Special Collections Library and will also support the library’s fundraising programs. Gosling said it was time for a less stressful job, but that it had been an honor to lead one of the nation’s leading research libraries.
“He has been a leader nationally and has made the library very responsive to faculty and student needs across the campus in difficult times. He has been extraordinary,” said Courant. Another mark Gosling will leave behind is the library’s good financial health, a result of his dedication to raising support for the library. Courant said in the release that Gosling had “energized the library’s fundraising efforts, which have led to a significant increase in the library’s endowment and expendable income.”
Also noted was Gosling’s establishment of partnerships with other schools and colleges, which helped to expand the donor base, the collection and services.
“Sometimes the University librarian is invisible to almost everybody. … This is a guy who really made things work so long and so well, the University really owes him a debt of gratitude,” Courant said.
James Hilton, associate provost for academic information and instructional technology affairs, will be filling in as interim University librarian, but Brenda Johnson and John Wilkin, both associate University librarians, will be helping to fill most of Gosling’s responsibilities.
“Bill’s been a terrific leader of the libraries. My primary job is to make sure that things continue in a positive direction,” Hilton said, adding that he was excited for the opportunity to work more closely with the library staff.
Hilton said that since the Library has strong management, day-to-day operations will continue to work as they do now.
Courant echoed this in the release, saying Hilton’s appointment was “a strong vote of confidence in the Library’s management team.”
He added that the appointment of Hilton was also very strategic to the search.
“I wanted someone who could not possibly be a candidate for University librarian, because I wanted to conduct an open search,” Courant said.
Hilton said he will work to make sure the library is prepared for a permanent librarian when the search is completed.