Past President's Page

Karen A. Williams photo
Karen A. Williams
ACRL Past President

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   Latest News


  • Keynote Address at the Inaugural Joint Meeting of the Nebraska College & University Section and the Kansas College & University Libraries Section, Crete, NE, May 29, 2015.
  • The Library in the 21st Century-Irrelevant or Innovative?  Presentation at the AzLA / Syracuse University West Coast program, Scottsdale, Arizona, February 4, 2015.
  • New Roles in Libraries.  Presentation to the College and Universities Libraries Division of the Arizona Library Association (AzLA).  November 2014.

   Press Box

  • Coming soon!

   Biographical Information

Karen Williams is Dean of Libraries at the University of Arizona. She previously worked at the University of Minnesota as AUL for Research and Learning, and was a participant in the UCLA Senior Fellows Leadership Program. Karen has an MLS from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and a BA in English and Secondary Education from the University of Michigan-Flint.  Her initial career focus was on creating strong roles for libraries in teaching and learning, followed by key work in scholarly communication. 

Her professional areas of interest include integrating information literacy and research skills into the curriculum, making scholarship produced by our faculty and students more broadly available to the world, and redesigning roles of librarians and staff to be leaders for 21st century research libraries.  She is also interested in providing innovative learning spaces both physically and online, and continuing to grow rich and unique Special Collections.   

Her current focus is on new roles for librarians and library staff that will allow us to advance the goals of our institutions and demonstrate value at a time when we are witnessing reductions in public support.   She and her colleagues have engaged in significant redefinition of roles for liaison librarians, and in expanding the liaison model to include a number of functional specialists across all library areas in a hybrid model. This approach responds to the changing nature of scholarship and teaching and seeks to enhance scholar productivity, empower learners, and integrate library professionals into the research, teaching, and learning processes. 

Williams has been an active member of ACRL since 1983 and served in a variety of capacities.  She was a co-creator of and faculty member with the ARL / ACRL Scholarly Communication Institute and the ACRL Information Literacy Immersion Institute.  She created the first version of the Scholarly Communication Toolkit.