University Librarian Jack Siggins announced this morning that he will retire from his position, effective August 31. However, he will serve as special adviser to the provost through the end of December 2013.
Mr. Siggins has been university librarian since 1995. Previously, he served as deputy university librarian at Yale University, and has also held positions at the Library of Congress, the University of Maryland-College Park and the University of Chicago.
“I deeply appreciate Jack’s skilled leadership as university librarian and his dedication to the university,” said Provost Steven Lerman. “Jack’s many accomplishments include acquisition of the library system’s two-millionth volume in 2001, the stewardship of several large special collections, and, most recently, detailed planning for a transformational renovation of the library’s first and second floors.”
Mr. Siggins said he is looking forward to spending more time with his family and working on long-delayed research projects during his retirement.
“I have enjoyed the 17 years I have served GW as university librarian, and am particularly proud of all the library staff have accomplished during that time,” he said. “I am confident that, under the leadership of President Knapp, Provost Lerman and the deans, the staff will be even more successful in service to GW and will reaffirm the rightful place of the libraries as the ‘heart of the university.’”
During his tenure as university librarian, Mr. Siggins oversaw a number of significant projects, including the creation of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Labor Research Center, which houses archives of two of the three largest unions in the United States. He also facilitated the creation of the Global Resources Center, a composite of research centers focused on the geographical areas of Japan, China, Taiwan, the Middle East and North Africa, Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe.
Most recently, he has led the design process for the construction of a new learning center on the second floor of Gelman Library, as well as facilitated the design of the new National Churchill Library and Center at the George Washington University on Gelman’s first floor. Mr. Siggins worked extensively with students to ensure that their voices were heard, organizing a series of town hall-style meetings in which students and other university community members could discuss their needs and desires for the new facilities.
Mr. Siggins has served as consultant and trainer at academic institutions around the world in team building, resource sharing, organizational restructuring and building design. He received a B.A. degree in romance languages from Princeton University and graduate degrees from American University and the University of Chicago in far eastern languages and literatures and information science. He also is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Japanese language. He served in the U.S. Army as a Japanese language interpreter and later worked as a researcher for the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The university will launch a national search for the next university librarian.