Kaufman Librarian of the Year

Aug 23, 2011

Official announcement from the Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries (IACRL):

The Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries is pleased to announce that Paula Kaufman, Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has been selected as the Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year for 2011.  Dean Kaufman will receive the award at the Illinois Library Association Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 during the Illinois Library Association Annual Conference in Rosemont, Illinois.  The award is sponsored by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) and includes a $500 monetary award.

Dean Kaufman’s nominators cited “her extraordinary leadership in Illinois, her vision and strategic thinking for the future of libraries, and the generosity with which she shares her inspirations” as among the foremost reasons that she should receive this award.

Kaufman has served as University Librarian at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign since 1999, and before that was Dean of Libraries at the University of Tennessee for eleven years.  She also served as an administrator at Columbia University for many years, and held positions at Yale University and in a research service firm which she cofounded.  Kaufman holds degrees from Smith College (AB), Columbia University (MS), and University of New Haven (MBA).

Kaufman has been an active member of the Illinois Library Association since arriving as University Librarian at the University of Illinois in 1999.  She served on the ILA Public Policy Committee from 2007-2010.  She is a founding member of CARLI, serving on the CARLI Board of Directors since 2005.  In her CARLI work she has chaired both the search committee for the Executive Director and the Program Planning Committee.  During her tenure on the CARLI Board, the organization has expanded services to 153 Illinois institutions, offering interlibrary lending, e-resources brokering, and digital assets management.

Kaufman also serves on the Champaign Public Library Board of Trustees, where she has been closely involved with the design and launch of the Champaign Public Library.  In addition, she served on the Lincoln Trails Library System Board for seven years, from 2001-2007.  Beyond Illinois, Kaufman has held numerous leadership roles with the boards of directors of the Association of Research Libraries, the Center for Research Libraries, the Center for Institutional Cooperation (CIC), and many more.  In 2010, Dean Kaufman was recognized at the national level by American Library Association with the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award.

Kaufman’s contributions to the literature of library and information science are extensive and substantive—a consistent output ranging over 25+ years.  She has produced a large number of scholarly articles dealing with changes in publishing, challenges in library management, and innovations in services.  In 2001, she initiated an electronic newsletter, Issues in Scholarly Communication, which became a blog in 2005.  Her list of speaking engagements include local, state, national and international venues—she has been invited to speak in Canada, Russia, China, South Africa, India, and Japan.  She has also given presentations to non-library groups in Illinois in regard to the economic influence that a library has on its community.

Kaufman’s understanding of the power of digitization has led to the establishment of a highly productive scanning facility at the U of I Libraries that is digitizing collections from all over Illinois.  Similarly, she sees the high-density storage facility at the U of I as a vehicle for the library cooperation for which the state of Illinois is so well-known.

Kaufman recognizes the power of cooperation and the assets that are found in both the collections and the people in Illinois libraries.  She has an extraordinary gift for gathering colleagues to the table to seek new ways of thinking about how services are provided in Illinois libraries.  She often starts a dialog with the simple question, “What if we…?” followed by a new twist on collaboration or an idea from an entirely different area.  Her nominators cited her “willingness to take risks, to open the door so that many can be at the table, and to think about the usual from the unexpected perspective reflects her role as a truly inspirational leader and librarian.”

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