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Smith Appoints New Director of Libraries

Christopher Loring, team leader of reference and consultation services with the university libraries at the University of Minnesota, has been appointed director of libraries at Smith College, succeeding Sarah Pritchard, who left Smith last spring to become head of libraries at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Trained originally as a classicist at Boston University, Loring received his education in library science at the University of Minnesota. "Since 1984, he has held increasingly responsible positions in the Minnesota libraries system," says Jefferson Hunter, professor of English language and literature at Smith, who chaired the library director search committee. "Among Chris' particular professional interests are the improvement of user services and issues involving technology and copyright," Hunter says.

Loring has been instrumental in the creation of several research software programs and in the organization of the UMinn public Web site. As head of access services, he oversaw the automation of circulation, and led a major space planning and reorganization effort and a project to improve access to UMinn's extensive periodical holdings. As a member of the leadership group within the University of Minnesota, Loring participates in addressing issues that extend into all aspects of research libraries.

Loring describes the Smith libraries as an extraordinarily rich resource for faculty and students. He says he is "grateful to be given the opportunity to work with a gifted and talented staff. Academic libraries across the country currently face incredible challenges and opportunities. The challenge for Smith libraries staff members is to continue providing collections and services that support both the curriculum of the students and the research of faculty while leveraging the new teaching, learning and communication technologies to expand into areas unthought of a decade ago."

Loring believes that "in today's information society, a liberal education must include the cultivation of information literacy skills-the skills to discover, critically evaluate and successfully use information. Smith library staff will play a crucial role in assuring that Smith students obtain these skills so that they can thrive in the information age."

Said Provost and Dean of the Faculty John Connolly: "Chris has a distinguished record of library service, and his colleagues both in the library and in the faculty at the University of Minnesota praise him highly. His experience, his calm and thoughtful approach and his considerable skill as a team builder will stand the libraries at Smith in good stead in the months and years ahead."

Loring grew up in Massachusetts and says that he is pleased to be returning to a state that he views as "one of my homes." With a nod to Garrison Keillor, the host of Minnesota Public Radio's syndicated show, A Prairie Home Companion, Loring says "The home that I leave, of course, is Minnesota, where everyone is above average, where the governor is the official state body and where the artist formerly known as something provides an unusual musical challenge for the Scandinavian population."

Loring is expected to assume the post of director of libraries at Smith on or about February 1.

November 8, 1999


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