News & Notes

LSU Libraries’ Elaine Smyth to retire

Posted in Announcements
Elaine Smyth's retirement reception

Elaine Smyth’s retirement reception

LSU Libraries’ assistant dean Elaine Smyth will retire on July 31 after more than 26 years of service to Louisiana State University.

After earning her Master of Librarianship degree in 1979 from the University of Washington, Seattle, Smyth began her career as a catalog librarian in the Department of Rare Books at Olin Library, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. In 1988 she came to the LSU Libraries as Head of the Manuscripts Processing Unit for the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections in Special Collections. Since then she has held numerous curatorial and administrative positions in Special Collections and served as head of the division from 2006 to 2011. As curator, she built the collections significantly in the areas of 18th century British literature, book arts and the history of printing, and natural history, and added dozens of facsimiles of medieval manuscripts, which are used each year by hundreds of students.

In 2011 she assumed the role of assistant dean of Libraries, and in 2013 she was appointed interim dean. As interim dean, she was instrumental in developing LSU’s Quality Enhancement Plan, “LSU Discover,” and promoted development of an institutional repository. Under her leadership, the environmental control system in Hill Memorial Library was renovated, and a facilities master plan was developed for the Libraries.

Smyth has also been a key player in conceptualizing, writing, and administering grants to preserve irreplaceable library materials and to make the Libraries’ rare and unique holdings accessible to a much wider audience through digitization. Serving as project author, co-principal investigator, or grant writer, she has been involved in 16 successful grant projects benefitting the LSU Libraries that total over $1,340,000. At the national level, she has served frequently as a grant panelist for both the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Smyth has published several articles, a bibliography of the Plain Wrapper Press, and contributed to two books on book arts. Between 1988 and 2009 she curated 18 exhibitions in Hill Memorial Library on topics ranging from the work of naturalist and artist John J. Audubon to the writings of Andrei Codrescu. She has been sought after for conference presentations and panel discussions and as a guest lecturer in various workshops, training sessions, and university classes.

At the university level, Smyth served on the Faculty Senate and several Faculty Senate Committees, and was elected to the Library Faculty Policy Committee four times.

Smyth is not only a leader on campus but also at the state and national levels. She has long been a member of and recently chaired the Louisiana Advisory Council for the State Documents Depository Program, through which she contributed to the effort to preserve and provide access to state documents. As interim dean, she served on the LALINC executive board, working with LOUIS staff to improve library services to LSU and other academic libraries in the state. Nationally, she has held multiple offices and committee positions in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries. Among these were section chair (2005) and head of local arrangements for the group’s 2011 meeting, which was held in Baton Rouge and attended by librarians from all over the United States and Canada.

The Louisiana Library Association recognized Ms. Smyth in 2014 by awarding her the Outstanding Academic Librarian Award. In 2000 she was awarded the D.W. Schneider Library Faculty Merit Award for excellence in job performance.

During her time at the LSU Libraries, Smyth mentored librarians at LSU and throughout the state, built the Libraries’ collections and services, and advanced the Libraries’ mission at LSU. Please join us in acknowledging Elaine Smyth’s success and in wishing her well in her retirement, which we hope will be as bright as the future she helped shape for the LSU Libraries.

Paul Hrycaj is a Humanities & Social Sciences Librarian at the LSU Libraries.

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2019

Comeaux, Dave;  Emily Frank; and Mike Waugh. “Supporting Student Success: E-books as Course Materials,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Miles, John David. “Colfax, Kate Grant, and the Domestication of Reconstruction’s Violence,” Civil War Book Review. Volume 21, Issue 2 (Spring 2019).

Miles, John David. “The Loyalty of West Point’s Graduates Debated,” Civil War Book Review. Volume 21, Issue 1 (Winter 2019).

Miller, Marty. “Curriculum, Departmental, and Faculty Mapping in the Visual Arts Department,” Art Documentation, Volume 38, p 159-173 Issue 1 (March 2019).

O’Neill, Brittany; and  Allen LeBlanc. “Evaluating Trends in Instruction Scheduling Management: A Survey of Louisiana’s Academic Libraries,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Russo, Michael, “The Moon Belongs to Everyone:  ResearchGate and Subscription Databases Compared.”  Louisiana Libraries. Winter 2019 (v. 81, no. 3).

Russo, Michael, “Information Literacy through Service Learning”  in Library Collaborations and Community Partnerships: Enhancing Health and Quality of Life.  Fannie M. Cox, Henry R. Cunningham, and Vickie Hines-Martin, eds., 2019.

Simms, Sarah; Hayley Johnson. “Hidden in Plain Sight,” 64 Parishes (Magazine of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities). Issue 4, Summer 2019. https://64parishes.org/hidden-in-plain-sight

Ziegler, Scott; and Cara Key. “More Than a Pretty Interface: The Louisiana Digital Library as a Data Hub,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

2018

Hebert, Andrea. “Information Literacy Skills of First-Year Library and Information Science Graduate Students: An Exploratory Study,” Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Volume 13, Issue 3 (September 2018).

Miller, Marty. “Sacred vs. Profane in The Great War: A Neutral’s Indictment: Louis Raemaekers’s Use of Religious Imagery in Adoration of the Magi and Our Lady of Antwerp.” Catholic Library World, vol. 89, no. 1, Sept. 2018, pp. 20–32.

Rasmussen, Hans. “The Life and Death of Raquette in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans,” Sport History Review 49 (May 2018): 23-38.

Wilder, Stanley. “Delayed Retirements and the Youth Movement among ARL Library Professionals,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Wilder, Stanley. “Hiring and Staffing Trends in ARL Libraries,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

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Ziegler, Scott; and Richard Shrake. “PAL: Toward a Recommendation System for Manuscripts,” Information Technology and Libraries, Vol. 37, No. 3 (2018).

2017

Caminita, C.; Cook, M.; and Paster, A. (2017). Thirty years of preserving, discovering, and accessing U.S. agricultural information: Past progress and current challenges. Library Trends, 65(3), 293-315.

Dauterive, Sarah; John Bourgeois; and Sarah Simms. “How little is too little? An examination of information literacy instruction duration for freshmen.” Journal of Information Literacy, 11.1 (2017): 204-219.

Fontenot, Mitch; Emily Frank; and Andrea Hebert. “Going Where the Users Are: Three Variations on a Theme,” Louisiana Libraries, Fall 2017.

Hawk, Amanda K. “Highflying Crowdfunding: Creating a Successful Partnership with a Campus Donor,” Archival Outlook, July/August 2017: 12-13, 19. https://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=422988.

Hebert, Andrea; and Marty Miller. (2017). Using FSA-OWI photographs to teach information and visual literacy. Louisiana Libraries, 79(3), 19–25.

Johnson, Hayley. “#NoDAPL: Social Media, Empowerment, and Civic Participation at Standing Rock,” Library Trends, Fall 2017.

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