Monday, February 28, 2011

UCI Interim University Librarian Gerald R. Lowell Reflects on Career in Librarianship

Updated 1 March 2011: To listen to
the podcast of this program, click

Gerald R. Lowell in a relaxed mood. Photography © Daniel C. Tsang 2011
In his short tenure of less than a year heading UC Irvine Libraries, Interim University Librarian Gerald Ray Lowell has managed to uplift library morale and flatten the administrative structure so that more people have been involved in making decisions that affect those of us who work here. He has also taken an important stab at streamlining the academic review process for librarians.

Having already suffered millions in budget cutbacks in recent years, UCI Libraries will no longer be the same, no longer the research library many have learned to rely on. Instead, the financial crisis has imposed so severe a toll that in future, research collections will be smaller, and the focus will be on service rather than building up in-depth collections. The UCI administration, in applying its budget-slashing formulae, has startlingly taken to considering the libraries as an administrative unit on campus, rather than an academic one.

This interview with Gerald Lowell -- Jerry as he was known to us -- is being aired today, his last day of work at UC Irvine. He looks back at his extensive career in librarianship and reflects on his life's work.

He explains why he came over the to the libraries from the Arts School (where he had been an assistant dean) after he had already headed the research libraries at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego, and offers his take on the future of academic libraries, including UCI's.

He soon heads off with his partner Mitchell to Spain, where they look forward to a well-deserved retirement far away from the volatile political rhetoric emanating from the airwaves state-side.

To listen to the interview, where Jerry Lowell talks with Subversity host Daniel C. Tsang, tune in to KUCI, 88.9 FM at 5 p.m. this evening, or listen online via Subversity is a weekly KUCI public affairs show. A podcast will be posted later on this site.

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