University Librarian and Vice Provost Smith Announces Retirement

The Office of the Provost released this announcement today (Oct. 11):

MacKenzie Smith has announced she will retire as University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship at the end of June 2023, after more than a decade at UC Davis and nearly 40 years in academic research libraries.

MacKenzie Smith, headshot, UC Davis
MacKenzie Smith

Smith joined UC Davis in 2012, following a long career with the libraries of MIT, Harvard, and the University of Chicago.

During her tenure as University Librarian, Smith has overseen all aspects of the UC Davis Library, including its buildings, collections, personnel, and programs. She has led initiatives to modernize the library and advance the university’s strategic priorities by enhancing the library’s support for research, teaching and learning, including:

  • Expanding the library’s use of technology and its technical expertise, including data management and online publishing
  • Developing a strategic, campuswide approach to advancing data science capability, including the creation of the UC Davis DataLab, housed at Shields Library
  • Helping define and lead major UC systemwide initiatives to transform scholarly publishing and explore the future of digital book lending
  • Defining and launching a Food and Wine initiative that leverages the library’s world-class collections in these subjects
  • Creating and building a significant philanthropic fundraising program to grow the library’s financial resources
  • Advancing UC Davis’ commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion with the library’s new five-year strategic plan
  • Strengthening the library’s partnerships with other campus units, including Information and Educational Technology, the Office of Research, and the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science

Expanding online access

Smith credits an outstanding team of librarians and staff for the advancement of the library over the past decade, particularly their effective response to supporting the campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to expanding online access to library materials and services, UC Davis was the first UC campus to reopen its main library.

“MacKenzie has led our library during a period of transformative change in how scholars create, access and share research,” Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan said. “She has made substantial contributions to the campus’s research enterprise at every level, from data science and informatics to the establishment of an undergraduate library research prize.

“MacKenzie has also elevated our library’s leadership role, within UC and far beyond, in advancing free and open access to research. We will miss her leadership and collaboration, but wish her all the best in her retirement.”

As Vice Provost for Digital Scholarship, Smith has also led campuswide initiatives involving information technology, research computing and knowledge management. She helped strengthen the university’s data governance as the lead architect and inaugural co-chair of UC Davis’ Institutional Data Council.

Lasting impact

Throughout her academic career, Smith has developed and led entrepreneurial programs that apply technology innovation to libraries and their parent institutions and create new models for publishing and data-driven research in the digital age. Her work with open-source software platforms, such as MIT’s DSpace for archiving digital research, has had a lasting impact on research libraries and many other cultural heritage and knowledge-generating institutions.

Smith feels the timing is right for a new leader to steer the next phase of the library’s evolution and implement its new strategic plan.

“I am immensely proud of how our library team has responded to the opportunities and challenges of the past 10 years, from the rapid growth of digital technology that has reshaped libraries, to the many changes we all faced during the pandemic,” she said. “We’ve evolved and grown so much, and I can’t wait to see what the library and UC Davis will achieve together in the decade to come.”

The Provost, who will launch a search for a new University Librarian this fall, said she is immensely grateful for Smith’s service and commitment to UC Davis.

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