Susanne Mehrer Named Dartmouth’s Dean of Libraries

The new dean of libraries comes to Hanover from the University of Cambridge in England.

Susanne Mehrer, the deputy librarian of Cambridge University Library in Cambridge, England, has been named Dartmouth’s dean of libraries. She will begin the role on Dec. 1, 2016.

Susanne Mehrer
Susanne Mehrer (Photo courtesy of Susanne Mehrer)

“Dartmouth’s library is the lifeblood of our liberal arts mission—the treasured archive of our past and a crucial partner in the creation of the knowledge of the future,” says President Phil Hanlon ’77. “Sue Mehrer brings not only deep experience, but the right mix of strategic vision, collaborative leadership, and innovative service to expand the library’s reach throughout campus and beyond. I’m delighted to welcome her to the Dartmouth community.”

“It is such an honor and privilege to have been appointed as the dean of libraries,” says Mehrer. “I am thrilled to be joining Dartmouth at this exciting time and look forward to partnering with its excellent library staff, students, and faculty to continue developing outstanding library services, collections, and facilities for the Dartmouth academic community.”

Mehrer will oversee Dartmouth’s nine libraries, a professional and support staff of about 170, and a collection of nearly 3.4 million volumes, both physical and online. The libraries serve students and faculty throughout the College, professional schools, and the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. Nearly 300,000 volumes circulate each year, and the central Baker-Berry Library complex has as many as 10,000 visits a day.

Her role will be to advance Dartmouth’s signature model of student-faculty partnership in learning and to develop a strategic vision for the libraries’ future—including how the libraries’ physical and digital spaces can best meet the needs of current and future scholars and students.

“Sue is a forward-thinking leader who understands the challenges and opportunities of running a world-class academic library in the 21st century,” says Provost Carolyn Dever.

Mehrer’s career in libraries spans 20 years. She joined the Cambridge University Library as deputy head of reader services in 2006 and has served as deputy university librarian since 2009. In that capacity, she has been closely involved in strategic planning, building partnerships throughout the University of Cambridge and helping to establish cooperation across a network of more than 100 libraries in the 800-year-old University.

She led a user-centered design initiative that is assessing how students, faculty, and other patrons engage with the library; testing new service models; and using data from these pilot projects to inform planning for how the library can better support the needs of Cambridge’s academic community.

She also helped design and implement an office of scholarly communication to support the creation, transformation, dissemination, and preservation of scholarship across digital platforms.

Before Cambridge, Mehrer was user services librarian at Queens University Belfast; assistant librarian, deputy user services librarian, and serials librarian at the London School of Economics; and senior information officer for the Confederation of British Industry. She began her library career as assistant librarian at Manchester Metropolitan University.

A graduate of the University of British Columbia, where she majored in English and German, Mehrer earned a master’s in English from Queen’s University Belfast, a postgraduate diploma in library and information studies from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, an executive MBA from Queen’s University Belfast, and a master of arts from Cambridge. She participated in the Future Leaders Program through the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, and was a 2014 fellow at the Leading Change Institute in Washington, D.C.

Jennifer Taxman, associate librarian for user engagement and technologies, is serving as interim dean of libraries until Mehrer arrives in Hanover.

“The library is grateful to Jennifer for stepping up during this transition,” says Dever. “I also want to extend my thanks to the search committee for their diligence and commitment to finding the best candidate for the role.”

“The dean of libraries is a position that demands an extraordinary range of professional expertise, experience, and interpersonal skills,” says Dennis Washburn, the Jane and Raphael Bernstein Professor in Asian Studies and chair of Asian and Middle Eastern studies, who chaired the search committee. “In all respects, Sue Mehrer is an exceptional choice, and we expect that she will be a leader who will help continue the fine work of the staff and build upon the strong legacy of the outgoing dean, Jeffrey Horrell.”

The search committee included Susan Ackerman, the Preston H. Kelsey Professor of Religion and professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and Jewish studies; Professor of Computer Science Thomas Cormen; Anne Kelley, a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry; Karen MacPhee, supervisor of the Kresge Physical Sciences Library; Executive Vice President Rick Mills; William A. Nelson, associate professor of psychiatry, and of community and family medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine, and an associate professor of The Dartmouth Institute; Barbara Sagraves, head of preservation services; Professor of Engineering Eugene Santos Jr.; Maclean Simonson ’16; Associate Professor of Business Administration Alva Taylor, the faculty director of the Glassmeyer/McNamee Center for Digital Strategies; Ellen Waite-Franzen, who has just retired as vice president for information technology and chief information officer; and Martin Wybourne, senior vice provost for research and the Francis and Mildred Sears Professor of Physics.

Executive search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates assisted the College with the search.