Simon Neame was appointed the new dean of University Libraries, University of Washington Provost Mark Richards announced today. The appointment, pending approval by the UW Board of Regents, is set to begin Sept. 1.
Neame will take the position vacated by Vice Provost of Digital Initiatives and Dean of University Libraries Betsy Wilson, who plans to retire July 1 after a nearly 30-year career with UW Libraries, including 20 years as dean. Richards plans to appoint an interim dean to fill the position until Neame arrives.
“We are fortunate and pleased that Mr. Neame is bringing to the UW his expertise in digitization, open access and preserving special collections,” Richards said. “He recognizes the important role libraries play in student success, as well as in engaging communities, opening access to research, and building partnerships through the university and community.”
As dean of University Libraries, Neame will lead a network of 16 academic research libraries across all three campuses, and the UW Press.
“The UW Libraries is one of the top research libraries in the country, and is a leader in advancing research, access to knowledge and promoting open scholarship,” Neame said.
“I am very excited by the opportunity to work with such an outstanding team at the Libraries and Press, as well as the faculty and students at the UW, and to return to the beautiful Pacific Northwest.”
Currently the dean of Libraries at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Neame leads the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, the Science and Engineering Library and the Wadsworth Library at the Mount Ida campus. As associate university librarian and director of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus, Neame also was responsible for the humanities and social sciences library, the health sciences library and several subject libraries.
Neame has demonstrated his commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, work he plans to continue and expand at the UW. He has led a number of initiatives aimed at preserving Indigenous knowledge and amplifying the voices and stories of underrepresented communities through digitization programs, such as his work with the archives of civil rights activist and writer W.E.B. Du Bois. Neame’s own research explores the intersection between libraries and museums, and opportunities for integration across collections through open discovery systems.
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Neame holds a bachelor’s degree in English and history from the University of Victoria and a master of library and information studies from the University of British Columbia.