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Library News from Provost Alan Garber

March 15, 2013

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,


I write to share the news that Mary Lee Kennedy will be leaving Harvard on May 14, 2013, to accept the position of chief library officer at the New York Public Library. This is a wonderful opportunity for Mary Lee to use her many talents to pursue longstanding interests.  I am grateful to Mary Lee for all she has accomplished at Harvard, for her collaborative and dedicated approach to her job and for being a valued member of my leadership team. It has been a great pleasure to me personally to have worked with her since I arrived as provost.


We are fortunate that Mary Lee will be with us for the next two months as we work through a transition in leadership.  I will be in touch with the Harvard Library community in the time ahead with more information as plans unfold.  We will seek your thoughts as we work toward a smooth transition and together build a Harvard Library that continues to set the standard now and in the future.


Mary Lee has been part of the Library since 2004, when she joined Harvard as executive director of Knowledge and Library Services at the Business School. She was an integral part of the strategic planning for the Harvard Library transition, serving as a member of the Library Task Force and the Library Implementation Working Group. In 2011, Mary Lee stepped into the new role of senior associate provost for the Harvard Library.


Under Mary Lee’s leadership, the Harvard Library made considerable strides and is well positioned for future success. Some of these accomplishments include:

  • Implementation of University-wide governance structures that align the Library with the academic programs and priorities of the University, including the first University-wide student Library council;
  • Design and establishment of the new Shared Services structure;
  • Launch of an innovation initiative that partnered to create the Labrary and to hold an innovation unconference;
  • Deployment of new services, including data management training, the Tell Us online user feedback tool and a new Library portal that surfaces collections and tools;
  • And, following a deep assessment of needs, the development of a Library technology strategic roadmap by a University-wide team.

Harvard’s first University-wide collection development policy is underway, and a team of Library, Office of General Counsel and HUIT staff members recently formed to develop support for HarvardX courses. Planning for the Library’s participation in the University’s upcoming fundraising campaign is also ongoing, and an Innovation Working Group is ready to implement a process to scale innovations. Other teams are exploring digital curation opportunities and tools, developing a Library-wide service to support faculty copyright needs and initiating pilots for an e-research program.


The Library’s ongoing success depends, as it always has, on the unsurpassed skill and dedication of the Harvard Library community. I am certain you will continue to build on Mary Lee’s contributions.


Please join me in thanking Mary Lee and in wishing her great success in her new position.


Best regards,