University Librarian Valerie Hotchkiss to step down in June

Valerie Hotchkiss (photo by Susan Urmy with Vanderbilt University)
Valerie Hotchkiss (Vanderbilt University)

Valerie Hotchkiss announced today that she will step down as leader of the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries at Vanderbilt University on June 30.

Hotchkiss has served as university librarian since August 2016, with responsibilities for nine divisional libraries, the Vanderbilt Television News Archive and the University Art Gallery.

“Under Valerie’s vision and leadership, our Heard Libraries have moved services forward in innovative ways—especially during the pandemic—helping advance Vanderbilt’s mission as a world-class university,” said Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente. “We are grateful for her work on important library initiatives in support of the Academic Strategic Plan, such as expanding access and inclusion and strengthening collections in support of research and scholarship.”

During Hotchkiss’ tenure, the Heard Libraries launched technological improvements, including a new online system for faster and more robust searches, and several libraries underwent renovation, including the Annette and Irwin Eskind Family Biomedical Library and Learning Center, which achieved LEED Gold status. Among the collections acquired by the Heard Libraries under Hotchkiss’ direction are rare photographs of and by the Rev. James M. Lawson Jr., a pivotal figure in the history of the civil rights movement.

During her time as university librarian, the Heard Libraries rose from 54th to 35th in the national rankings of the Association of Research Libraries.

“It has been a privilege to work with our talented library staff and collaborative faculty,” Hotchkiss said. “We have moved the libraries at least 10 years forward over the course of the last five years.”

Hotchkiss came to Vanderbilt from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of numerous books and articles on cultural history and the history of books and printing. Hotchkiss is a past president of the Alpha of Tennessee Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Vanderbilt and currently serves on the executive council.

Details on a national search for Hotchkiss’ successor will be announced at a later date.