Simon Neame Named UMass Amherst Dean of Libraries

Simon Neame
Simon Neame

AMHERST, Mass. – Simon J. Neame, associate university librarian and director of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at the University of British Columbia Library (UBC) in Vancouver, has been named dean of libraries at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He begins his new duties Aug. 1.

Neame succeeds Jay Schafer, who is retiring as director of libraries after 12 years in that position and 15 years with the libraries.

As dean of libraries, Neame will be responsible for the W.E.B Du Bois Library, the Science and Engineering Library in Lederle Graduate Research Center, the Image Collection Library in Bartlett Hall and numerous programs and services and a staff of 128.

Katherine Newman, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, said Neame has the experience and vision to lead the UMass Amherst libraries in this challenging time of technological change.

“Simon understands the importance of a great library to a great research university and the citizens it serves. He is a leader who has proven that he can meet the demand for new information services, from open education, to data management, to providing information literacy training and research support. No less impressive is his history of working collaboratively with a spectrum of institutions and constituencies. We know Simon is the best person to continue on the path that Jay Schafer has blazed for us,” Newman said.

“We will celebrate the extraordinary achievements of Jay Schafer before he departs this summer.  He is beloved by everyone at UMass,” Newman noted.  “I’m pleased to say that he is as enthusiastic as the rest of the campus about his successor.” 

At UBC, Neame oversees 33 professional librarians and 114 support staff as associate university librarian, learning and engagement. His budget responsibilities include the Barber Centre, the Walter C. Koerner Library for humanities and social sciences, the Woodard Library for health sciences, science and applied science, the Music, Art and Architecture Library, access services and the library’s teaching, learning and community engagement programs.

As director of the Barber Centre, he manages an operating budget of $1.9 million and associated endowments and capital funds totaling $2.5 million.

Since 1998, Neame has held a number of positions of increasing responsibility at UBC, starting as reference librarian in the science and engineering division. He served as instructional programs librarian in the information services division and as an adjunct faculty member in the the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies. He joined the Barber Centre in 2003.

Neame chairs the province-wide British Columbia Digitization Coalition and has published numerous articles for professional journals.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Victoria and a master’s of library and information studies from UBC.

Neame was chosen in a search that began when Schafer announced his plan to retire. The search committee was chaired by Bruce Croft, interim dean of the College of Information and Computer Sciences, and Gretchen Gerzina, dean of Commonwealth Honors College.