Shaw named university librarian

Jon Shaw
Jon Shaw

Jon Shaw has been appointed the new leader of the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries at Vanderbilt University, effective July 1. Previously, Shaw served as associate vice provost and deputy university librarian for the University of Pennsylvania Libraries.

With experience in collaborative partnerships, strategic initiatives and digital strategy, as well as space planning, Shaw brings broad expertise particularly well-suited to lead the academic and research focuses of the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries as it expands its support of the university community.

Shaw, who joined the University of Pennsylvania in 2004, served there as the chief strategist and senior adviser to the H. Carton Rogers III Vice Provost and Director of the Penn Libraries. He also assisted with the overall administration of the Penn Libraries, with responsibility for the coordination of library operations, practices, policies, procedures and staff activities.

As university librarian at Vanderbilt, Shaw will serve as the leader for the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries, comprised of nine divisional libraries, the Fine Arts Gallery, the Vanderbilt Television News Archive and the university’s Special Collections and University Archives. Focused on the libraries’ ambitious growth and renewal, Shaw will build collaborative relationships with community and university stakeholders and provide strategic vision for a forward-looking library system.

“Vanderbilt’s librarians ensure our faculty and students can find and utilize information in myriad forms, from books to archives to the latest in online publishing, to conduct research toward tomorrow’s patents, publications and progress​,” said C. Cybele Raver, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs. “Jon’s impressive background and eye to the digital future ensures Vanderbilt’s culture of ambitious reaching​ and high standards for rigor and evidence​ comes to fruition.”

In his 18 years at the University of Pennsylvania, Shaw raised the library’s visibility regionally, nationally and internationally through collaborative partnerships and strategic initiatives. Appointed associate vice provost and deputy university librarian in 2019, Shaw worked in collaboration with the provost’s office, the libraries’ vice provost and the director of development to ensure strategic planning goals and processes were aligned with institutional priorities. His experience with both directing and assessing strategic outcomes will be integral as he works with Vanderbilt University leadership to implement a series of recommendations from a recent external review of the libraries.

Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania, Shaw served in various roles for the Drexel University Libraries. Shaw has completed the Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians. In 2016, Shaw was a senior fellow in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and in 2018–19 he was an Association of Research Libraries Leadership Fellow. He earned a bachelor of arts from Temple University, a master of library and information science from Drexel University and a master of higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.

Shaw currently leads a library service assessment for Cheney University of Pennsylvania, the nation’s first historically black college or university and a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. He also leads a task force focused on the integration of the University of Pennsylvania’s Archives and Records Center with the libraries. Shaw led a model partnership between Penn and the Athenaeum of Philadelphia that transformed access to the venerable independent library’s historically rich research collection and opened it to a broad academic community. Shaw’s professional service to the Penn Libraries spans development, communications, digitization, technical and public services, budget and finance, digital scholarship, emergency response and strategic planning efforts, among many others.

In addition to working with Chancellor Daniel Diermeier, Provost Raver and a growing undergraduate student-focused residential college system, Shaw said he was drawn to Vanderbilt by its robust and talented library staff and commitment to the experience of learning and inquiry.

“Vanderbilt promotes a culture of innovation and collaboration through its groundbreaking interdisciplinary and trans-institutional initiatives while remaining firmly student-centered in its approach,” he said. “As university librarian, I’m looking forward to advancing the university’s research, teaching and learning mission through the creation of a forward-looking strategy that will allow the library to serve and adapt to the changing needs of the Vanderbilt community. The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries are in a unique position to propel the cutting-edge research efforts of Vanderbilt’s impressive scholars and to bolster the academic success of its exemplary students. I’m thrilled to be joining this welcoming and talented community.”

Shaw was selected by a search committee comprised of faculty members and university leadership:

  • Vanessa Beasley (co-chair), vice provost for academic affairs, dean of residential faculty and associate professor of communication studies;
  • Lawrence Marnett (co-chair), dean of basic sciences, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; and professor of biochemistry, chemistry and pharmacology;
  • Adam Anderson, professor of biomedical engineering, professor of radiology and radiological sciences, and chair, Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Policies and Services;
  • Joy Calico, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair, professor of musicology and professor of German studies;
  • André Christie-Mizell, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School and Centennial Professor of Sociology;
  • Xiu Cravens, associate dean for international students and affairs and associate professor of the practice, Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations;
  • Sarah Igo, Andrew Jackson Professor of History and dean of strategic initiatives, College of Arts and Science;
  • Kevin Stack, Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Chair in Law and director of graduate studies, Vanderbilt Law School; and
  • Lisa Thompson, associate professor and Cornelius Vanderbilt Chancellor Faculty Fellow of Black Homiletics and Liturgics.

“I am delighted we will welcome Jon to Vanderbilt as university librarian,” said Vanessa Beasley, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of residential faculty. “The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries are at the heart of Vanderbilt’s academic excellence. In partnership with our librarians, Jon will enact innovative solutions to support our intellectual community and meet the needs of users. I am also incredibly grateful to Hilary Craiglow, who has served as acting university librarian since July 1, 2021, for her effective leadership over the past year.”