Lougee accepts position as U’s head librarian

Courtney Lewis

This spring, the University library system will turn over a new page and a new librarian will be in charge of the University’s massive book collection.

Last Friday, the Board of Regents approved Wendy Pradt Lougee as the University’s new head librarian.

“Wendy Pradt Lougee is an outstanding and visionary leader in the field,” said Robert Bruininks, University executive vice president and provost. “She is the ideal candidate to lead our libraries to the next level of excellence.”

Planning to start her position in mid-June, Lougee will replace Thomas Shaughnessy, who retires this year after 12 years of service.

Lougee will oversee the entire University library system, which includes five major facilities and 11 branch sites.

University libraries house 6 million print volumes, 45,000 serial subscriptions, 5.7 million microforms, 2.6 million government documents and 400,000 maps.

Lougee said the University library system was appealing because of its extensive collection. The University collection’s status as the 17th largest research library in North America helped convince her to take the job, she said.

Her responsibilities will include updating service classes in information and managing geospatial data sets.

Currently an associate director of digital library services at the University of Michigan, Lougee said she already handles several responsibilities of a head librarian.

“I come from a family involved in writing, teaching and communications,” Lougee said. “I often find this background in information science and human behavior provides a very useful perspective of the challenges of contemporary research libraries.”

Lougee said she plans to focus on sustaining and enhancing the University’s rich physical assets while building a virtual library.

At the meeting Friday, University President Mark Yudof said Lougee is eminent in her profession.

Minneapolis is not an unfamiliar place to Lougee, who received her master’s degree in psychology from the University.

“Libraries and library staff have a great deal to contribute to the life of the University, in teaching, learning and research contexts all over campus,” Lougee said. “I am eager to have the opportunity to lead the library system at the University of Minnesota as it approaches information questions in the 21st century.”