AUSTIN, Texas—Lorraine J. Haricombe has been selected as the new vice provost and director of libraries at The University of Texas at Austin. Haricombe currently serves as the dean of libraries at the University of Kansas. She begins her new position Feb. 1, 2015.
“Dr. Haricombe brings to UT Austin critical expertise on the evolving role of libraries in advancing teaching and research at top universities. She also is an international leader in improving access to scholarly publications. I’m proud she’s coming to UT Austin,” said UT Austin President Bill Powers.
During her tenure at KU, Haricombe oversaw the enhancement of several library facilities across campus. She was instrumental in implementing a faculty-led open access policy at KU, the first public institution in the U.S. with such a policy, ensuring increased visibility for KU research and scholarship. Open access reduces barriers to scholarly output to create faster, wider sharing of knowledge and increases the return on research investment.
“I am honored and humbled by this appointment to lead the libraries at a world-class research university,” said Haricombe. “The University of Texas Libraries provides an exciting opportunity to elevate the role of libraries as an integral partner in the higher education ecosystem, while advancing new strategic directions in support of teaching, learning and research.”
Haricombe was selected through a national search to fill the position.
“Given her extensive experience as a director of a major research library system at an institution that is a member of Association of American Universities, Lorraine has much to offer UT,” said UT Provost Gregory L. Fenves. “She has a vision for how to enhance learning communities for students and scholars and understands the importance of creating better digital access to original materials.”
Haricombe earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology and library and information science at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in library and information science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In her new role at UT Austin, Haricombe will oversee one of the nation’s largest academic research library systems, which annually serves more than 2.5 million visitors and 11 million online visitors with collections in excess of 10 million volumes. The library system includes the flagship Perry-Castañeda Library, nine specialized branch libraries and world-class special collections (Alexander Architectural Archive, Benson Latin American Collection and the PCL Map Collection).
Along with those core units, the library system also maintains numerous digital-native collections, including the Human Rights Documentation Initiative and the University of Texas Digital Repository. UT Libraries are founding members and hosts of the statewide Texas Digital Library.
Haricombe will replace Fred Heath, who retired this year after 11 years in the position.
In addition to her university experience, Haricombe is a co-founder of the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions in North America, an international advocacy group for institutions with open access policies. She also has served for the past seven years as a mentor to junior librarians from underrepresented areas as part of the Association of Research Libraries Leadership Career Development Program.