A longtime Kenneth Spencer Research Library staff member has been tapped as interim head of the library on the Kansas University campus.
KU Libraries Dean Lorraine Haricombe announced this week that, beginning July 1, Sherry Williams will lead the research library for at least a year.
"I get to continue to do what I love to do, so it's a great opportunity," Williams said.
Williams is the Spencer's Kansas Collection curator, a position she has held since 1979. She's also spent some time as university archivist. William Crowe, current Spencer librarian, will retain his role and title until he begins phased retirement in October.
At that time, Williams will take full responsibility for the Spencer, in addition to her duties as Kansas Collection curator.
Crowe has been head of the research library for eight years, and in the fall he will begin working part-time as a special assistant to Haricombe while making the transition to retirement. He has previously served as KU libraries dean and vice chancellor for information services.
"I've reported to Bill for a long time. He's certainly had a lot of energy and vision for the Spencer Library," Williams said.
Williams said she will continue ongoing efforts to draw researchers to the library and to make materials and records available on the Internet. She also will work with the Spencer Library's department heads: Richard Clement, head of special collections; Becky Schulte, university archivist; and Darrell McNamara, head of processing.
"I'm certainly not doing this on my own," Williams said.
The Spencer Research Library, which is just north of Strong Hall, includes a collection of more than 350,000 rare books, roughly 500,000 manuscripts, as well as more than 2.5 million photographs.
Haricombe said that Williams has served as acting head of the Spencer Library when Crowe has been away and that her appointment as interim head will bring stability to the research library.
"I'm just very excited that she is willing and able to take on this leadership position," Haricombe said.
The libraries dean also said she has not made a final decision about how to proceed with permanently filling the Spencer librarian position.