Next Dean of Libraries Announced

Posted on: February 20, 2019

James Madison University announces the appointment of the next dean of Libraries.

After a nationwide search, Bethany Nowviskie, Ph.D., has accepted the offer to be JMU’s dean, starting July 1.

“Dr. Nowviskie brings a fresh vision for the libraries, a vision that is deeply collaborative, forward-thinking and inclusive. Her thoughtfulness, broad experiences and insight will enrich conversations campus-wide around scholarship, engagement and innovation,” said Heather Coltman, Ph.D. and provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at JMU. “We are delighted to welcome her to JMU!”

Nowviskie currently serves as distinguished presidential fellow at the Council on Library and Information Resources and senior advisor to the Digital Library Federation, where she has served as director for the past four years. DLF is an international association of 195 libraries and cultural heritage organizations dedicated to research, learning, social justice, and the common good, based at the nonprofit Council on Library and Information Resources in Washington, D.C.

Prior to her current position, Nowviskie was the founding director of the library-based Scholars’ Lab at the University of Virginia, where she continues to serve as a research associate professor in digital humanities in the department of English.

“It will be a great honor to lead the Libraries’ stellar faculty and staff at a moment when our services are evolving and becoming ever more integral to the mission of the university,” explained Nowviskie, next dean of libraries at JMU. “JMU’s emergence as a national leader in student and civic engagement requires a library and educational technology system that fosters deep and purposeful collaboration, equitable community partnerships, crucial new literacies, and a culture of learning that empowers and inspires. I’m eager to get to work!”

Nowviskie earned her Ph.D. in literature from the University of Virginia, with a concentration in bibliography and humanities computing. She received her Master of Arts in education from Wake Forest University.

Nowviskie has numerous scholarly publications with several forthcoming in 2019. In 2013, she was named one of the “Ten Tech Innovators” by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

JMU is home to four libraries (Rose Library, Carrier Library, the Music Library, and the Educational Technology and Media Center) with a total of more than one million visits per year. About 150 employees, including faculty, staff and student employees work to manage a robust and diverse collection with more than 1.5 million items, makerspaces, programming and events, special collections and much more. The mission of JMU Libraries is to engage with JMU’s diverse communities in their creation and search for knowledge through academic resources, physical and virtual spaces, and educational research services.

Media contact: Mary-Hope Vass,

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