May 29, 2009

Purdue taps UMass Dartmouth dean as first endowed chair in information literacy

Sharon Weiner
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Purdue's board of trustees on Friday (May 29) approved the university's first endowed chair in information literacy to bridge the world of libraries and information technology.

Sharon Weiner, the dean of library services at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, has been appointed as the W. Wayne Booker Endowed Chair in Information Literacy in Purdue Libraries. Her appointment is effective June 1.

The endowed chair was created with a $2.5 million gift from Booker, a native of Sullivan, Ind., and 1956 Purdue graduate in economics.

"We are grateful to the late Wayne Booker for his generous gift that made this endowed chair possible," university President France A. Córdova said. "His contribution will provide a much-needed resource in today's technological age in which students must be diligent and analytical information-seekers to be successful. Dr. Weiner is nationally known in academia for her work in information literacy, and we are privileged that she has chosen to bring her talents to Purdue. This endowed chair prominently positions Purdue University nationally in the ever-expanding role information literacy plays in higher education."

In addition to her role as a dean at Massachusetts Dartmouth, Weiner was director of Peabody Library at Vanderbilt University and was a department head at the University of Buffalo's (N.Y.) Health Sciences Library. She is vice president of the National Forum on Information Literacy and co-chair of the Peabody Academic Library Leadership Institute. She is a distinguished member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals and past chair of the Special Libraries Association Education Division. She also received the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Librarianship in 1999.

Her research interests focus on information literacy, academic library leadership, the role and contribution of libraries to higher education, and the organization of the literature of emerging and cross-disciplinary fields.

At Purdue, she will be professor of library science with tenure. She will conduct research and launch additional initiatives to increase students' ability to collect and collate information, said James L. Mullins, Purdue Libraries dean. She will work with Purdue Libraries faculty and faculty throughout the university to educate students in information assessment.

"The library system is crucial to success at any university, and Purdue is stepping to the forefront with this endowed chair," Weiner said. "I look forward to getting there and working with student and faculty researchers and taking this next step in integrating information technology with information literacy."

A Purdue committee conducted a national search that led to Weiner's selection.

"Dr. Weiner comes to this position with a career built on a foundation of information literacy," Mullins said. "I, too, want to acknowledge Mr. Booker for his gift and the committee for making an excellent recommendation. We're proud to have Dr. Weiner on board and look forward to being able to utilize her experience and knowledge."

Booker, who in 2000 received an honorary doctorate from Purdue, worked for Ford Motor Co. more than 40 years, retiring as the corporation's vice chairman and chief financial officer. He served the company in Mexico, Brazil, Japan and England and was a leader in establishing new international operations and joint ventures. He also represented Ford at many international business associations. After his retirement, he moved from Dearborn, Mich., to West Palm Beach, Fla.

Booker served on the Libraries Dean's Advisory Council from 1993 to 2007. In 2001 Booker funded Purdue's Leaders in Information and Communication Technology Integration program. He died in October 2007 in Charlottesville, Va.

Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077,

Source: James L. Mullins, 765-494-2900,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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