Shirley K. Baker, Dean of Libraries, retires after 23 years of service

6 Jul

Shirley Baker, Dean of University Libraries and Virginia Toliver, Associate University Librarian – Photo credits: Evie Hemphill/Washington University Libraries

The date of June 30, 2012 marks a significant turning point at Washington University Libraries. Dean of Libraries, Shirley K. Baker, who served the library for 23 years has retired. Dean Baker has led the library through numerous technological and physical changes including the renovation of Olin Library.

In 1989, Shirley Baker came to Washington University from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she was the associate director of libraries for public services. Dean Baker’s accomplishments are many and varied but some highlights include the renovation and expansion of Olin Library and the construction of the new Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library and the Rettner Earth & Planetary Sciences Library. A noteworthy point is that during the renovation of Olin Library the library remained open and there was no drop in service to faculty and students.

In addition to expanding and improving existing structures and departments, Dean Baker also created several new departments and was instrumental in bringing major new collections to the University. Under Baker’s leadership, the Film & Media Archive was created with the acquisition of the Henry Hampton Collection, the Digital Library Services department was created to  support digitization of the library’s collections and promote digital scholarship, and the Modern Graphic History Library was created in Special Collections.

Dean Baker was highly active in the field of librarianship among her many professional activities she was a board member and president of the Association of Research Libraries and a founder and twice president of MOBIUS, the highly successful resource-sharing consortium in Missouri. In anticipation of retirement, Dean Baker has created a blog, Leadership Arts & Crafts to document the work she is doing on her forthcoming book, Leadership: The Art & Craft of Making Things Happen. We look forward to reading more and wish Dean Baker a happy and enjoyable retirement.

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