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Dean of Libraries Announces Return to Faculty

Date: January 16, 2013

Contact: University Libraries


Libraries Dean Carla Stoffle Stepping Down, Returning to Faculty
By University Communications

Carla J. Stoffle, dean of University Libraries and the Center for Creative Photography, has announced that she will return to the faculty on July 1. 

Stoffle came to the University of Arizona to become dean in 1991. During her tenure, she has served as acting director of the Center for Creative Photography and the School of Information Resources and Library Science

Provost Andrew Comrie noted that "Carla's visionary leadership has transformed our library, and she has also had a long-lasting impact on the Center for Creative Photography and the University Press."

Stoffle has been recognized as a national leader who has helped libraries reinvent themselves in response to the information revolution. In 2012 she won the American Library Association's Joseph W. Lippincott Award for innovative contributions to libraries and information science. 

The award acknowledges scholarship that has had a major impact on the field. Stoffle has published more than 60 articles and book chapters, and she has served in a wide range of national leadership roles. The announcement of the award called Stoffle a "bold innovator" who is committed to staff development and diversity. Those commitments have been recognized with several national and University awards: the ALA's Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award in 2002, the ALA's Equality Award in 2003, the Vision Award from the University of Arizona's Commission on the Status of Women in 2010, the University's Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Leadership Award in 1996, and the Association of Research and College Libraries' Academic or Research Librarian of the Year Award in 1992.

Stoffle also has been recognized for her contributions to libraries and librarians in the state of Arizona. As acting director in 1999, she led the School of Information Resources and Library Science through the process of retaining its American Library Association accreditation after it was jeopardized by financial problems. For her efforts, the association selected Stoffle as Arizona Librarian of the Year for 2000-2001. 

Agnes Griffen, who was then director of the Pima County Public Library, noted that "If Carla Stoffle had not intervened, there would be no graduate library education program available" in the Southwest.

Bryan Heidorn, current director of the School of Information Resources and Library Science, said, "Carla Stoffle has created the future of libraries here at the University of Arizona and provided guideposts for others across the nation to follow."

Heidorn noted that Stoffle had created the aptly named "Living the Future" national conference series with the Association of Research Libraries, which gave rise to a series of related special issues in the Journal of Library Administration under the "Living the Future" name.

Under Stoffle's leadership, the UA Libraries has changed "not to keep up with the digital age but to shape it," Heidorn said. The UA Libraries comprises the Main Library, the Fine Arts Library, the Science-Engineering Library, Special Collections and the Center for Creative Photography.

When Stoffle became dean of the libraries 20 years ago, students and faculty went to the library to find a book in the card catalog or to read the latest issue of a journal.

"Now, thanks to Carla, we can access the great collections of the University anytime and from anywhere," he said. "Not only have books become digital, but also all media – from movies to video games to the raw data behind scholarly publications – can be accessed from the library."

To lead the libraries through the transition from print to digital resources, Stoffle instituted a team-based approach that enabled librarians to establish online services and preserve traditional functions while managing the surging costs of digital resources.

Stoffle's responsibilities extended beyond the libraries through her oversight of two of the University's most recognized units: the University of Arizona Press and the Center for Creative Photography. 

The press was brought under Stoffle's direction in 2010. Director of the Press Kathryn Conrad recently noted that "joining the library has opened up a new chapter in the many ways we have always worked with the campus community." 

Stoffle has also helped strengthen the Center for Creative Photography's national and international reputation while serving as its interim director before recruiting the current director, Katharine Martinez, from Harvard.

Stoffle was ahead of her time, Comrie said.

"Twenty years ago, Carla had the foresight to see that libraries were going to need to reinvent what they do and how they do it to keep up with the explosion of information sources and the expansion of scholarly publishing from print to electronic venues," he said. "She had the vision to build a library that would meet the needs of faculty and students before they were even aware of what those needs would become in the era of laptops and mobile devices."

A national search will be conducted for Stoffle's replacement.