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December 9, 2002

Libraries director Gotwals to retire at year's end

By Eric Rangus

Emory will be losing another top administrator to retirement at the end of the academic year. After 14 years as vice provost and director of libraries, Joan Gotwals announced her retirement to her staff last week. She intends to remain in her position through the summer.
Gotwals, 68, said she is leaving Emory to tend to family obligations in her hometown of Philadelphia.

“If I didn’t have family responsibilities, I wouldn’t be doing this. There are too many exciting things happening,” she said. “My experience at Emory has been very satisfying. I’ve had wonderful support from the University administration and from faculty. It’s been a good time.”

A search committee is currently being set up to look for a replacement to fill Gotwals’ position.

Gotwals’ time at Emory has seen the libraries expand in intriguing and innovative ways. The Center for Library and Information Sources (CLAIR) came online in 1998, bringing together the academic side of information technology with the library. The InfoCommons area of Woodruff Library is one of the campus’ focal points of research and service.
“We’ve made Emory Libraries much more visible on the national scene, as well as within the Emory community,” Gotwals said. “I think the libraries are becoming much more central to everything people do.”

Gotwals’ tenure also witnessed the opening of the Marian K. Heilbrun Music and Media Library in 2001 and the math and science library (located in the Math and Science Center) this past August. Next year, the renovation of Candler Library will be complete, giving administrative space to several Emory College offices as well as a grand reading room for all members of the Emory community.

The past 14 years also have seen the libraries’ holdings rise from 2 million to 2.7 million volumes, and Emory’s Special Collections in the areas of modern English language literature and African-American collections are among the finest anywhere, Gotwals said.
Prior to coming to Emory, Gotwals spent 26 years working in the library system of the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in political science.

Emory Libraries encompasses the central library, health sciences, law, theology, math and science and Oxford libraries and covers 299 staff positions. About 170 people are employed by the Woodruff Library alone.