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Irene Herold named dean of VCU Libraries and university librarian; assumes role Aug. 1

May 3, 2021
A collage of the two VCU Libraries buidlings on a burgundy to yellow background with some circular lines and a flying book.

Irene Herold, Ph.D., who currently serves as librarian of the college at the College of Wooster, has been appointed dean of VCU Libraries and university librarian, effective Aug. 1.

“What excites me about VCU Libraries is the opportunity to work in a dynamic, community-engaged environment where I can apply my leadership knowledge and practice in new and increasing ways,” Herold said. “One never knows until actually in the position the exact growth opportunities there will be, but I am excited to build upon the legacy of the past dean and the foundations of success for students.  When President [Michael] Rao, Ph.D., described his vision of the dean of libraries and university librarian as the university’s leader of information learning, I knew this was the right place for me.”

Herold’s career spans nearly 30 years and includes leadership roles at several university libraries and professional organizations, including serving as a past president of the Association of College and Research Libraries.

“We are fortunate to have outstanding faculty and staff in VCU Libraries and, under her leadership, look forward to new achievements in a rapidly changing library environment,” said Gail Hackett, Ph.D., VCU provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

In her current position, Herold leads Wooster’s three libraries and has been instrumental in modernizing library spaces for student success as well as focusing on staff development via cultural competency work and participation in immersion programs and digital scholarship initiatives.

Last year, Wooster Libraries was included in a consortium of higher-learning institutions that received a three-year grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources for the creation of a digital repository and catalog of medieval manuscripts.

Herold earned her doctorate from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College; a master’s degree in history from Western Illinois University; and both a master’s degree in librarianship and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Washington.

She is the author of two books, Leading Together: Academic Library Consortia and Advocacy and Creating Leaders: An Examination of Academic and Research Libraries Leadership Institutes, as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters on academic libraries and library leadership.

Herold previously served as university librarian at the University of Hawaii at Manoa; dean of Mason Library at Keene State College, director of the Anne Bridge Baddour Library at Daniel Webster College; and public services librarian at Monmouth College.

VCU’s previous dean of libraries and university librarian, John Ulmschneider, retired last summer, after a 20-year career at VCU. Teresa L. Knott, associate dean of VCU Libraries and director of the Health Sciences Library, has been serving as interim dean of libraries and university librarian over the past year.

As dean of libraries and university librarian, Herold will oversee VCU Libraries two main library locations: James Branch Cabell Library on the Monroe Park Campus and the Health Sciences Library on the MCV Campus; as well as auxiliary library operations including the VCUarts Qatar Library on VCU's Doha, Qatar, campus; and the VCU Medical Center Health and Wellness Library, operated by the VCU Libraries in partnership with the VCU Health System.

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