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Joseph Salem Named University Librarian

Experienced university librarian will lead the next phase of Libraries’ work to advance the university’s academic mission

Joseph Salem comes from Michigan State, where he is dean of libraries and interim associate provost for teaching and learning innovation
Joseph Salem comes from Michigan State, where he is dean of libraries and interim associate provost for teaching and learning innovation

Joseph A. Salem Jr., a nationally recognized university librarian and information literacy expert, has been named the Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs, Provost Sally Kornbluth announced Wednesday.

He will be responsible for the leadership and overall management of the Duke University Libraries’ services and collections in support of the academic, instructional, and research needs of faculty, students, and staff across the university.

The Duke University Libraries include the Perkins, Bostock, and Rubenstein Libraries on West Campus, the Lilly and Music Libraries on East Campus, and the Pearse Memorial Library at the Duke Marine Lab. Together with the separately administered libraries serving the schools of business, divinity, law and medicine, they form one of the nation’s top 10 private research library systems.

Salem will join Duke August 15 from Michigan State University (MSU), where he currently serves as dean of libraries and interim associate provost for teaching and learning innovation. He succeeds Deborah Jakubs, who will retire this month following nearly four decades of service to Duke, including 17 years at the helm of Duke University Libraries. Associate University Librarian Dracine Hodges will serve as interim university librarian until Salem assumes the role.

“Joe has distinguished himself as a collaborative and inclusive leader and community builder with a strong vision for the role of university libraries in supporting learning and scholarship,” Kornbluth said. “I am confident he will be an excellent leader for Duke University Libraries and look forward to welcoming him to campus.”

Salem has overseen the MSU Libraries since 2018, initiating a strategic planning process for the MSU Libraries and a subsequent reorganization emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and faculty and student engagement. He also co-led the development of the university-wide MSU 2030 Strategic Plan.

During his tenure leading MSU Libraries, Salem oversaw the naming of the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections and the largest cash gift in the history of MSU Libraries, which supported a move to climate-controlled space for the Murray and Hong Special Collections and portions of the University Archives and Historical Collections.

“I am thrilled to be joining Duke University,” said Salem. “It is clear that the Duke University Libraries are a point of pride for students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and play a key role in the intellectual life of the university. I am honored to lead the Duke University Libraries into their next phase, building on the outstanding work Deborah Jakubs has done throughout her tenure in this role.”

Salem’s appointment follows a nationwide search chaired by Patrick Charbonneau, professor of chemistry and physics, and a committee of faculty, staff, and representatives of the Library Advisory Board and Duke student body.

“I am grateful to the search committee for their diligent and committed work, and also to Patrick for his outstanding leadership,” Kornbluth said.

“Joe’s planning and visioning experience will be particularly helpful in keeping Duke University Libraries at the vanguard of university library systems,” said Charbonneau.  “I’m glad he is joining us at Duke, and I especially look forward to working with him on the Library Council."

Salem has published and presented widely on open educational resources, student engagement, teaching and learning, library assessment and library management.

He has served as psychometrician on two national information literacy initiatives, Project SAILS (Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills) and the K-12 TRAILS (Tool for Real-Time Assessment of Information Literacy Skills).

Salem is active in library affairs on the national level, chairing the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Research & Analytics Committee and serving on the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) Big Collection Steering Committee and Library Director Executive Team. He also served as a leadership fellow of the Association of Research Libraries from 2016 to 2017.

Salem earned his Ph.D. in evaluation and measurement, as well as a master’s of library science and master’s in literature and writing from Kent State University. He received his undergraduate degree in English from Cleveland State University. In 2017 he was recognized as the Kent State School of Library and Information Science Alumnus of the Year.