Michigan scholar named new UI librarian, dean

CHAMPAIGN — A University of Michigan scholar has been named the new dean of libraries and university librarian at the University of Illinois.

John P. Wilkin, 56, is currently an associate university librarian at the University of Michigan and directs the school's library information technology and publishing divisions and its university press.

He will assume his new position at the UI on Aug. 16. The appointment is pending approval by the UI Board of Trustees, which will meet July 24 and 25 in Chicago.

"The University of Illinois Library is absolutely extraordinary — one of the best in the country and the world," Wilkin told The News-Gazette. It is one of the best, he said, because of "the richness of the collections, the positioning of what it's doing with its collections and technology and because of the engagement of its librarians, who are faculty, with the faculty on campus."

In addition to his position as associate university librarian at Michigan, Wilkin is executive director of the HathiTrust Digital Library. More than 60 research libraries, including the UI, contribute to the online repository. Wilkin also has been involved in Google's book-scanning project. He has worked on a project to digitize the Middle English Dictionary and received a grant for digitizing 19th-century monographs published in the U.S.

Wilkin "has a proven track record of developing and implementing a clear vision for the library of the 21st century," UI Provost Ilesanmi Adesida said in the announcement.

Wilkin takes over for Paula Kaufman, who will return to teaching. Kaufman has been university librarian since 1999 and dean of libraries since 2009.

"On behalf of the entire university community, I thank Paula for her years of dedicated service, and for her stewardship of the nation's largest public library," Adesida said. Wilkin received his degrees from the University of Tennessee, University of Virginia and Antioch College. Aside from a short time at Virgina, he has been at the University of Michigan since 1986.

The new UI librarian also has served on committees for the Association of Research Libraries, as well as the Research Libraries Group and the Online Computer Library Center.

Wilkin's salary will be $240,000.

Wilkin's wife, Maria Bonn, an associate university librarian for scholarly publishing at the University of Michigan, will join the faculty at the UI's Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Wilkin said.

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