Alice Schreyer, Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections, leaves UChicago

Alice Schreyer will be leaving the University of Chicago Library to join the Newberry Library as the Roger and Julie Baskes Vice President for Collections and Library Services on August 24. Alice’s last day at UChicago will be July 17.

Alice Schreyer

Alice Schreyer

“Alice has accomplished a tremendous amount for the Library since her arrival in 1991,” said Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian at the University of Chicago. Serving initially as Curator and then Director of Special Collections through 2011, she fundamentally reconceived and expanded collections, programs, and spaces to emphasize and encourage the use of rare and unique materials by faculty and students at all levels. Among the collections added to the Library during Alice’s tenure are the Saul Bellow Papers, the Barbara and Bill Yoffee Collection of African-American Children’s Literature, the Bibliotheca Homerica Langiana, and the Daniel Clowes Archive. Alice supported the retrospective conversion of Special Collections catalog records, the encoding of archives and manuscript finding aids in EAD, and the launch of the Aeon online request circulation system. An early champion of digitization of Special Collections materials, Alice led several grant-funded projects and helped guide the development and expansion of Library digital collections as co-chair of the Digital Collections Steering Committee. She also oversaw a transformative series of construction projects, including the reconfiguration that shifted Special Collections from three floors to two and created new stack and staff spaces on A-Level; the Rosenthal Seminar Room project that produced the Library’s first smart classroom; the HVAC project that addressed environmental needs of the collections; and the recently completed construction project that reshaped Special Collections’ first floor and created its new public face on the Mansueto pathway. She also directed Preservation from 2007-2011 as the Mansueto Library, with its new Conservation and Digitization Laboratories, was being planned and constructed.

Since 2011, the Library has benefitted from Alice’s leadership in a number of roles. She served as Assistant University Librarian for Humanities, Social Sciences and Special Collections from January 2012 to June 2014, creating the Library’s first unified humanities, social sciences, and area studies division; as Interim Library Director and Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections from July to December 2014; and as Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections and Curator of Rare Books since January 2015.  

Alice has also played a vital role in shaping special collections librarianship throughout the country. Before joining us, she worked at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Library of Congress, and the University of Delaware Library. She was the founding editor of the ACRL journal Rare Books & Manuscripts from 1988 to 1993 and a member of the ARL Task Force on Special Collections (2002-2006), for which she wrote “Education and Training for Careers in Special Collections Librarianship; A White Paper” (November 2004). Book collectors and librarians continue to refer to Alice’s essay, Elective Affinities: Private Collectors & Special Collections in Libraries (Chicago: University of Chicago Library, 2001), originally delivered at the Library of Congress and published by the University of Chicago Library Society. In addition to teaching courses on special collections librarianship from 2001-2012, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia since 2004, as Secretary from 2009 through 2014, and as Chair since January 2014.

“We will miss Alice greatly but are pleased to know that she will be nearby and that we will have the opportunity to collaborate with her as she takes on her new role at the Newberry,” Johnson said.

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