Head of Digital Libraries and Publishing appointed

January 19, 2023

Karen Bjork joins VCU Libraries as Head of Digital Libraries and Publishing effective March 10, 2023.

Bjork will lead the Digital Libraries and Publishing department, which will be formally established upon her arrival. Digital Libraries and Publishing will be formed by merging existing functional units in the Scholarly Communications and Publishing division. The department will be responsible for digital collections and digitization; library publishing; institutional repository services; and open and affordable course content. Bjork will provide vision and strategic direction for these programs in collaboration with members of the department and a wide group of internal and external stakeholders.

“With Karen's experience and the dedicated team in the newly formed Digital Libraries and Publishing department, I am confident the VCU community will have new open access outlets for their creative and scholarly work and see the ongoing impact of our commitment to open and affordable course content,” said Associate Dean for Scholarly Communications and Publishing Jimmy Ghaphery who leads the division. 

Bjork comes to VCU from Portland State University, where she has worked since 2011. There, she took on progressively more responsibilities as Head of Digital Initiatives in 2015 and as the Head of Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Publishing in 2020. Since 2021 she has headed two departments, Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Publishing and Cataloging & eAccess where she supervised and administered day-to-day operations in electronic resource management, cataloging and institutional repository management. In all of these roles, she provided leadership to campus-wide initiatives that advanced equitable and affordable access to information, research, data and educational resources. 

Prior to her appointment at Portland State University, she was Digital Initiatives Librarian at North Dakota State University Libraries and Government Records Archivist at Montana Historical Society Research Center. 

Bjork holds a Bachelor of Arts in history, a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a Master of Arts in history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Bjork is professionally active with significant scholarship and service accomplishments. Her most recent peer-reviewed article “A Multi-institutional Model for Advancing Open Access Journals and Reclaiming Control of the Scholarly Record” appeared in the 2021 issue of  The Serials Librarian with co-authors Hollister and Brower (doi: 10.1080/0361526X.2021.1863141). She has been active with the Library Publishing Coalition since 2017, serving on the board since 2019. She has worked closely with the Open Education Network (OEN) since 2017, serving on a variety of committees and advisory groups including work related to an OEN IMLS Grant. She has also served on the Oregon Statewide OER Steering Committee since 2018, in addition to numerous university and library appointments. 


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