Senior Associate Provost for the Library To Leave Harvard in May

Senior Associate Provost for the Harvard Library Mary Lee Kennedy will leave Cambridge this May to lead the New York Public Library as its Chief Library Officer, Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 announced Friday.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Mary Lee to use her many talents to pursue longstanding interests,” Garber wrote in a letter to the Harvard community. “I am grateful to Mary Lee for all she has accomplished at Harvard, for her collaborative and dedicated approach to her job, and for being a valued member of my leadership team. It has been a great pleasure to me personally to have worked with her since I arrived as Provost.”

Kennedy, who first came to Harvard in 2004, began her work at the University as the Executive Director of Knowledge and Library Services at Harvard Business School before taking on the role of Senior Associate Provost in 2011. Along with Library Executive Director Helen Shenton, Kennedy oversaw the centralization of Harvard’s 73 libraries into a single Harvard library. At times that transition, which was completed last August, was criticized for a perceived lack of transparency and for prompting fear of staff reductions among workers.

In his letter, Garber pointed to several Library accomplishments during Kennedy’s tenure, including the implementation of its new “shared services” structure, the launch of an innovation initiative that included the Labrary—an experimental learning space, and the development of new library services such as a user feedback tool and a new online Library portal.

“Under Mary Lee’s leadership, the Harvard Library made considerable strides and is well positioned for future success,” Garber wrote.


—Staff writer Samuel Y. Weinstock can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @syweinstock.


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