Kevin Mulroy named new librarian

The new librarian at Occidental College, Kevin Mulroy. Photo courtesy of Occidental College

The college’s search committee hired Kevin Mulroy as the new chief administrator of the Library and the Center for Digital Liberal Arts (CDLA). Mulroy will start at the college July 1, Interim Assistant Dean of the Library and the CDLA and Secretary of the College Marsha Schnirring said. He will be permanently filling the position after the former Director of the Library Daniel Chamberlain left in March 2018.

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Wendy Sternberg co-chaired a search committee with Schnirring to hire the new Chief Administrator of the Library. The committee was made up of staff, faculty and student representative Lilah Abrams (sophomore), Schnirring said. Once they chose Mulroy as a final candidate, the search committee also sent out emails to the student body with information about Mulroy to encourage students to participate in the hiring process by attending his on-campus presentation and filling out online evaluations.

“He definitely had a wealth of experience that many didn’t, and so I think his vision and his ability to carry that out was pretty evident,” Abrams said.

Schnirring, who will assist with Mulroy’s training before resuming her duties as Secretary of the College, said Dean Sternberg and the search committee selected Mulroy due to his previous work and leadership experience. Mulroy has 25 years of experience in senior leadership positions in academic and research libraries across Southern California, including Dean of The Claremont Colleges Library for five years and Lead Dean of the Consortium’s Digital Library Humanities program, Mulroy said via email. He is also the published author of “Freedom on the Border: The Seminole Maroons in Florida, the Indian Territory, Coahuila, and Texas” and “The Seminole Freedmen: A History.”

Abrams said that during the applicant search process, Mulroy emphasized the digital aspects of the library and online resources.

“It seemed like a lot of the projects that he engaged with at the Claremont colleges were pretty forward-thinking in trying to advance the library technologically but also incorporate issues of diversity, expanding what the library is,” Abrams said.

Mulroy said he originally applied for the position because he admired the Occidental community and its commitment to diversity, inclusivity and equity. He is looking forward to helping develop liberal arts and science programs for the college and greater urban community.

“Dr. Mulroy brings a breadth and depth of experience with leading organizations that will advance the vision and work of the Library and CDLA, which benefits our entire campus community,” Schnirring said.

According to Schnirring, Mulroy will be responsible for providing leadership and library resources to support the students, faculty and curriculum. He will also be overseeing the library and CDLA, including circulation, special collections, archives, information literacy instruction, budget management and digital scholarship development. Mulroy said he will do his best to ensure that the library and CDLA are supporting the academic needs of students and faculty. Mulroy said he sees academic libraries at a point of transition as a result of new technologies and changing demographics.

“One of the biggest changes involves transitioning from resources purchased from vendors to open access materials,” Mulroy said via email. “Libraries should be able to help students by reducing the costs of course materials while assisting faculty with locating exciting and freely-available resources for teaching. Libraries are also providing new kinds of support to students and faculty engaging in digital scholarship, data science, and other forms of scholarly communication.”

Mulroy said he believes books are still an important part of academic programs, but he also wants to engage in new programs where students and faculty can help curate exhibits and build collections in the library framework. He also said Special Collections will play a greater role in supporting research, learning and teaching.

Mulroy said he will be working with Sternberg so that the library will be able to work in alignment with the college’s vision and the needs of its individual students and professors.

Along with his main role in the library, Mulroy said he wants to explore Oxy’s Special Collections and use his passion for writing and editing to help faculty, students and staff who are interested in being published or in presenting their work. He also hopes to integrate his work with the wider Los Angeles community.

“I’m a keen supporter of cultural heritage organizations in LA and want to contribute to Oxy’s community-based and service learning programs,” Mulroy said via email. “I especially look forward to engaging with Oxy’s Institute for the Study of Los Angeles (ISLA) and the library’s Northeast LA initiative.”