CORVALLIS, Ore. – The woman who has headed the Oregon State University Valley Library for 14 years and the OSU Press for three years is retiring from both positions this fall, university officials have announced.
Karyle Butcher, the Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian and director of the OSU Press, will step down on Sept. 30. Under her leadership, the library transformed itself from a traditional university repository of books and journals to a campus information hub nationally recognized for its leadership in digital collections and for using the Internet to break down barriers that have historically limited public access to knowledge and learning. She oversaw completion of the $47 million Valley Library building project in the mid 1990s, and in the early days of the Internet, integrated information technology services into the library.
Among the Library’s many and more recent innovations under Butcher: In conjunction with the Institute for Natural Resources and the OSU College of Forestry, creation of the vast Oregon Explorer digital library; the launch of ScholarsArchive, which makes peer-reviewed journal material readily available to all online; participation in Flickr Commons, which makes historically important digital photography collections from some of the world’s leading libraries available via the popular Flickr.com website; and leading the OSU Press to unprecedented success in recent years, even as other academic publishing houses were shuttering.
Butcher, who began work at OSU in 1981 and was promoted to head librarian in 1996, holds degrees from OSU, the University of Southern California and Berkeley. She was named Oregon’s “Librarian of the Year” in 1998 and won the OSU Woman of Achievement Award in 1999. She has authored numerous scholarly publications, and among her professional activities beyond OSU, Butcher was the founding editor of the award-winning journal Portal: Libraries and the Academy and has been a member for 29 years of the American Library Association.
“Karyle has been a true leader during a time of unprecedented change in the way that university libraries collect and make available information,” said OSU Provost and Executive Vice President Sabah Randhawa. “Her legacy is a library that is organized for the 21st century, not one clinging to the practices and norms of the past.”
“The passion she has shown for her job and the care with which she has managed the Valley Library and OSU Press have set standards that many in academia could aspire to,” said Rebecca Warner, vice provost for Academic Affairs and International Programs. “Our faculty and students have benefitted tremendously from Karyle’s service, as has the greater community, thanks to her efforts to make our collections more publicly accessible. She will be missed.”
As further evidence of Butcher’s service, it was disclosed this week that she is the recipient of this year’s D. Curtis Mumford Faculty Service Award, which recognizes exceptional, ongoing and dedicated interdepartmental, interdisciplinary and inter-institutional service to the faculty and to OSU. Warner said Butcher’s three nominators recognized how she exemplifies the spirit of this faculty-created award, which will be presented this fall as part of OSU’s annual University Day activities.
OSU’s main library, the Valley Library provides support to meet the informational, reference, and research needs of OSU's faculty, staff and students. Its collection comprises materials in all subject areas, containing more than 1.4 million volumes, 14,000 serials and 500,000 maps and government documents. Its Special Collections include the papers and many personal effects of two-time Nobel Prize recipient Linus Pauling and of Pulitzer Prize winner Bernard Malamud.
OSU will announce interim leadership for the Valley Library and OSU Press prior to Butcher’s September retirement, as well as search plans.