George Washington University has announced the selection of its next university librarian and vice provost for libraries. Geneva Henry will fill the role vacated by previous University Librarian Jack Siggins, who retired in August 2012. Ms. Henry was most recently the executive director of digital scholarship services at Rice University in Houston. The GW university librarian is responsible for planning, directing and overseeing all operations of the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, Eckles Library and the Virginia Science and Technology Campus Library. Ms. Henry will begin her new role on July 1.
“I am thrilled to be selected,” Ms. Henry said. “When I read the university’s strategic plan, it told me that GW is a place on the move that really ‘gets it’ when it comes to information. The library is at the heart of where the university is trying to go with new knowledge and information, and has the potential to be a key strategic partner in helping the university realize that very bold strategic plan. This is an exciting time to be at GW and I'm delighted to be joining the institution.”
Ms. Henry spent more than a decade at Rice University, working on developing the library’s digital collections from the ground up. Her projects have included data management planning, preservation of digital scholarship resources, geographic information systems (GIS) support and education, multimedia creation and editing, workshops for working with digital technologies, and maintenance of the university’s electronic theses and dissertations submission system and digital collection.
Before her position at Rice, Ms. Henry worked in industry and on government contracts, in areas such as artificial intelligence, medical imaging libraries and digital search technologies. She also worked as a consultant for higher education clients who were working to begin or expand digital library programs.
“Geneva Henry stood out even in what was a very strong candidate pool,” Provost Steven Lerman said. “The search committee and I were especially impressed by her knowledge of digital information systems along with her deep understanding of traditional library services and collections. I am confident that she will move GW Libraries forward at a rapid pace.”
Ms. Henry said she is excited to work with staff members at Gelman Library, Eckles Library and the Virginia Science and Technology Campus Library, whom she called “very engaged.”
“I hope to bring in a leadership style that makes people at the library really proactive in engaging faculty in their research and students in their learning,” she said. “I want to build on the multimedia materials we have, and make sure the staff can provide advanced information services, like GIS services, topic modeling for discovering information in large digital archives, and being a partner for researchers in areas like data management.”
Ms. Henry said that she has visited Washington, D.C., numerous times for business, and is eager to experience the city as a resident.
“D.C. is in the middle of everything. So many people have told me it’s so vibrant—I’m really looking forward to living here,” she said.
Ms. Henry’s main goal for her first year as university librarian is to encourage collaboration, she said.
“I want people to know I’m huge on collaboration. I’m really looking forward to building partnerships across campus,” she said. “Many people think a library is only a great place to study, but they may not realize there are some incredible services available.”