Thursday, January 26, 2017 News

Virginia Steel Elected Chair of the SPARC Steering Committee


Washington, D.C. – Virginia Steel, the Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian at UCLA, has been elected to the position of Chair of the SPARC Steering Committee. Steel has served as member of the Committee, which provides strategic advice and guidance to the SPARC staff, since 2015.

Steel brings a unique perspective to the Chair position, informed by working with a variety of libraries ranging from Massachusetts Institute of Technology to Washington State University to the University of California at Santa Cruz.

She has a history of strong leadership and service in the library community, serving as President of the Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA), and on the boards of the Greater Western Library Alliance, the Center for Research Libraries and the OCLC Global Council where she is currently Vice-President.

Steel currently serves as the Chair of the Advocacy and Public Policy Committee of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and is well versed in the complex national policy landscape. She has been an active supporter of national and state public access policies and has been a vocal advocate for the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act and the White House Directive on Public Access to Publicly Funded Research as well as the California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act.

At UCLA Steel launched a comprehensive, inclusive strategic planning process for the Library that is redefining the research library for the 21st century. Other campuswide involvements include participating in planning for research data management and serving on the Classroom Advisory Committee. In addition, she has spoken out on issues of open access, open education resources, and revisions to U.S. copyright law.

“Ginny Steel is a committed advocate with an invaluable depth of knowledge and commitment to action,” said Heather Joseph, SPARC’s Executive Director. “Her leadership experience across a broad range of library organizations and her commitment to deepening the impact of research and education through expanding access will help keep SPARC vital in the coming years. The Steering Committee, SPARC team, and I look forward to having Ginny’s leadership to help us address the challenges and opportunities before us.”

”With information disappearing from public sight every day intentionally or otherwise, SPARC’s unwavering commitment to open access, open data and open education is invaluable,” said Steel. “I look forward to working with its dedicated staff and hundreds of member institutions to further the adoption of policies and practices that enable people to solve pressing global problems and to improve the lives of individuals and the well-being of society,” said Steel.

SPARC’s voting membership, which includes representatives from over 150 academic libraries in the US and Canada, also elected the following individuals to serve on the SPARC Steering Committee for three-year terms beginning January 1:

  • Rebecca Graham, University of Guelph (CARL director)
  • Kevin Mulroy, Claremont College (non-ARL director)
  • Karen Williams, University of Arizona (ARL director)

Steering Committee members whose terms concluded in December include outgoing Chair Lorraine Haricombe (University of Texas at Austin), Loubna Ghaouti (Université of Laval), and John Ulmschneider (Virginia Commonwealth University).

SPARC extends deepest gratitude to everyone involved in the election and to outgoing members for their invaluable service to the coalition.

The full SPARC Steering Committee represents ARL and non-ARL libraries in the US and Canada as well as SPARC Europe, SPARC Japan, and CARL. The full list is available here.

For more information about SPARC governance and how to become a member, visit here.

SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), along with SPARC Europe, SPARC Japan, and SPARC Africa, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries committed to making “Open” the default for research and education.


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