Elaine Smyth, current assistant dean of LSU Libraries, will assume the role of interim dean of LSU Libraries, effective March 1. She will take the place of current LSU Libraries Dean Jennifer Cargill, who will retire on Feb. 28 after leading LSU Libraries for more than 20 years.
“Dean Cargill has left a great legacy, not only through her work in helping to establish the statewide Louisiana Online University Information System network, or LOUIS, but also in bringing together a great faculty and staff in the libraries,” Smyth said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work with them to build on that legacy and continue to improve library services, even in these times of austerity.”
Smyth has worked with LSU Libraries since 1988, when she joined the faculty as the head of the libraries’ manuscripts processing unit. During her tenure with LSU Libraries, she has also served as curator and head of the Special Collections division and as interim assistant dean of libraries. She has served as assistant dean of libraries since July 2012. Prior to coming to LSU, Smyth worked in multiple capacities with Cornell University’s Olin Library.
Smyth received her Master of Librarianship degree from the University of Washington in 1979, previously obtaining a bachelor’s degree in French literature in 1974 from Colorado College, located in Colorado Springs. Her areas of expertise include history of the book, book arts, fine printing, and library administration and grant writing.
“With Dean Cargill’s support, we spent a fair amount of time and effort over the last year on strategic planning, and we are poised to move forward with changes and improvements,” Smyth said of LSU Libraries. “So when I discussed taking the interim position with Provost Stuart Bell, I was especially pleased that he expressed his understanding that library operations can’t be static during this transitional time, and his support for us taking well-considered actions that will keep the libraries moving forward. Having a responsive and engaged program of library services will make it easier for us to attract top talent when we start our national search for a new dean.”