Carolyn Henderson Allen became the dean of the University Libraries at the University of Arkansas in October 2000. Before coming to Arkansas, she served as Deputy Director of University Libraries at the University of Florida, while also serving as Director for Support Services and Director of Collection Management. Allen was the Associate University Librarian for Administrative Services at the University of Southern California, Library Personnel Officer at Stanford University, and a Librarian at the University of Tennessee.
Allen has served as Chair of the Greater Western Library Alliance Board of Directors, chair of the AMIGOS Library Services Board of Directors, chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Committee on the Status of Academic Librarians, the ACRL Budget Committee, and chair of the ACRL Friends Committee. At the University of Arkansas, Allen established a major collaborative body, the Council of University of Arkansas Research Libraries, consisting of the library deans and directors of all six four-year University of Arkansas institutions in the state. Her community service includes the Walton Arts Center Foundation Board, vice chair of the One Community Board of Directors, chair of the Washington Regional Medical Center Foundation Board, and the Walton Family Foundation Scholarship Committee.
Open Access initiatives include leading a Task Force that oversaw the creation of an Open Access Policy and its adoption campus-wide through faculty and student governance, directing the creation of a campus-wide Open Educational Resources committee, staffing a Scholarly Communications Office that will oversee the institutional repository and drive open access initiatives across campus, and establishing a Digital Services Unit to make unique collections owned by the Libraries available to researchers worldwide.
Additional service activities include working with underfunded international institutions in creating access to freely available materials for their students, which led to the creation of a library website for the North South University in Cote d’voire of open access electronic materials.