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Loyola announces appointment of new dean of libraries

Loyola press release - January 23, 2012

Loyola University New Orleans has selected Michael P. Olson, M.L.S., Ph.D., professor and associate university librarian for information commons at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, as the new dean of libraries for the nationally-recognized J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library. Olson will begin work at Loyola on Aug. 1.

He is succeeding former dean Mary Lee Sweat, M.S.L.S., M.B.A., who retired in 2010, and interim dean Deborah Poole, M.L.I.S., who stepped out of her role as associate dean for public services and took the helm following Sweat’s retirement.

“I am honored to become Loyola’s dean of libraries and I look forward to working with the team at Monroe Library in demonstrating how its services and spaces allow students and faculty to work better and faster,” Olson said. “On a personal note, my wife Karen, sons Clancy and James, and I are delighted to soon call New Orleans our new home.”

According to Loyola Provost Edward J. Kvet, D.M.E., Olson has substantial experience and success in creating strategic plans and advancing them within collection development, technical services, public services, research and instructional services, stewarding large budgets, fundraising and obtaining grants.

“I am pleased that Michael and his family will be joining the Loyola community at an exciting time in our history as Loyola begins its second century as a catalyst for change and social justice for the entire region. His background as a scholar and administrator will enhance the stature of our award-winning Monroe Library," Kvet added.

Olson has been with UNC Charlotte since 2008 and has led a team of 45 in research and instructional services and has instituted a signature program that allowed the school’s 25,000 students to receive more personal, high-quality assistance 24 hours a day.

From 2005-08, Olson was head of collections management at Goddard Library at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. At Clark, he directed the library’s provision of collection and technical services, including selection, acquisitions, vendor relations, serials, binding, preservation, electronic resources and licensing, disaster prevention and relief, space planning, fundraising and faculty outreach. He also oversaw the library’s space redesign as his team identified and relocated hundreds of thousands of books during a $15 million renovation that transformed it from a traditional university library to a state-of-the-art academic commons.

From 1994-04, he was librarian for Germanic collections at Widener Library at Harvard University, where he guided talented staff in collection development and provision of related public services for the library’s Germanic collections, consisting of two million volumes, or 14 percent of Harvard’s 14 million total volumes. He stewarded endowment capital of $10 million for materials and an annual materials budget of $1.6 million. Olson was a Germanic studies bibliographer at University of California Los Angeles’ Young Research Library from 1990-93. He has also been heavily involved with mentoring, directing 29 formal practicums and internships at Harvard, UCLA and UNC Charlotte.

Olson earned three degrees from UCLA, including a master’s degree and doctorate in Germanic languages and a Master of Library Science degree. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Germanic languages from the University of Washington.

Loyola’s J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library has been rated by Princeton Review as a “Top Ten College Library” for the past five years. It was also ranked in 2010 by CampusGrotto.com in its list of the “Top 25 Most Beautiful College Libraries.” The state-of-the-art, 150,000-square-foot facility was built in 1998 and has won awards and praise for its architectural design that blends the traditional beauty of Loyola’s campus with the technology and enhancements of a 21st century research institution. The library contains more than 377,000 books and bound periodical volumes, over 20,000 music scores and recordings, and provides access to approximately 36,000 full-text journals and 27,000 e-books.

For more information, contact the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5888 or publaff@loyno.edu.

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