USC Upstate Announces New Library Dean

December 10, 2020 at 4:40 pm
John Barnett

The University of South Carolina Upstate is pleased to announce John Barnett as the new dean of its Library after a nationwide search.

Barnett will step into his new role on June 1 and will oversee the completion of a major renovation of the Library building and the implementation of a statewide library shared service platform among other duties. He succeeds Frieda Davison, who plans to retire after 20 years as the Library’s dean.  

“The Dean of the Library plays a vital role in USC Upstate’s commitment to academic excellence, collaborative teaching and learning, and community engagement,” said USC Upstate Provost David Schecter. “I am very excited that John has agreed to come and work with us and believe he will do a terrific job.”

Barnett, originally of Swansboro, N.C., has more than 25 years of library experience in library management, leadership, collections, outreach to diverse audiences, grant writing, scholarly communication and reference and instructional services.

He most recently served as executive director of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL), an academic library consortium headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

Prior to joining OCUL in 2015, Barnett served as the scholarly communications librarian for the University of Pittsburgh Library System, where he worked with students and faculty on issues that included open access to research literature, author rights, copyright and altmetrics. He was also co-editor of Pennsylvania Libraries: Research and Practice, an open access journal.

Barnett has also served as assistant director of the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium; director of Collection Development at Gettysburg College’s Musselman Library; head of collection development at the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) Library; head of the UTSA’s Downtown Campus Library; and reference librarian at the San Antonio Public Library.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Writing and Editing from East Carolina University. In 1995, he graduated from the Master of Library and Information Studies program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

“I’m really excited to join USC Upstate as the new Library dean,” Barnett said. “I look forward to working with the University community and Library faculty and staff to have a direct, positive impact on services that support teaching, learning and research.”

Constructed in 1976, USC Upstate’s 60,000-square-foot Library houses more than 220,000 volumes and an ever-expanding archive that includes special collections and artifacts related to the history of the 10-county region of Upstate, South Carolina.

The first phase of a renovation of the Library wrapped up in 2019, ushering in a number of improvements and new amenities for students and staff, such as a Starbuck coffee bar, technology upgrades and contemporary spaces for collaborative and individual learning.

A second phase will begin soon. Work will include new features that will enable the building to be open 24/7, an audio/video recording and control room, and new offices for Library staff. The project’s anticipated completion is fall 2021.

“I want to thank our search committee for doing an outstanding job,” Schecter said. “We had several qualified individuals to choose from, but John’s experience and enthusiasm really stood out in the end.”