Announcement Regarding James G. Neal, University Librarian

May 16, 2014

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:
As we near the academic year’s conclusion, I want to inform you that James G. Neal, our outstanding University Librarian and Vice President for Information Services, has told me he will be retiring at the end of December.  Jim has served Columbia with distinction and dedication for thirteen years and has been responsible, along with his team, for providing us with one of the very finest university library systems in the world.  On behalf of every faculty member, student, and visiting scholar whose intellectual journey has been assisted by our print and electronic collections, innovative library services, and expert library staff, I want to express my gratitude for all that Jim has done.
The heart of a world-class university is, of course, research and teaching, and the core competency for conducting that academic work resides in our libraries.  Today, the variety of our library system’s holdings is simply astonishing.  From rare books and assets for global research, to special collections and personal and institutional archives, the Columbia Library is an unsurpassed academic treasure.  Jim has worked tirelessly throughout his tenure to assure the growth of these collections.  The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives, a relatively recent acquisition we are curating with the Museum of Modern Art, and the archives of the world’s premier international human rights organizations are two of the many jewels in the Library’s crown.  Under Jim’s leadership, the Library has also developed one of the most comprehensive collections of licensed digital resources in the world.  Jim has provided a special expertise in scholarly communication and copyright law, a field in which he is internationally recognized, speaking and consulting widely on these important areas.  Complementing his service to Columbia, Jim has provided valuable leadership in the national and global library communities.
As I noted, Jim will continue in his position through the coming fall semester.  In due course, I will name the search committee to identify his successor.  For now, please join me in thanking Jim for his remarkable service over these many years and for contributing mightily to the intellectual growth and academic success of countless Columbians.
Lee C. Bollinger