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Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
March 24, 2008
DeKalb, Ill. — Patrick José Dawson of the University of California, Santa Barbara has been selected to take the reins of Northern Illinois University Libraries.
Dawson, 54, will become Dean of University Libraries on July 1, pending approval by the NIU Board of Trustees at its March 27 meeting.
Dawson will bring to NIU more than two decades of experience in library administration.
He currently serves as associate university librarian for information and research services at UCSB, where his responsibilities include developing library budgets, strategic plan implementation and supervision of operations, staffing and planning for a number of library departments.
“Patrick Dawson has held positions of increasing levels of responsibility at the Riverside, Irvine and Santa Barbara campuses of the University of California,” NIU Provost Raymond Alden said.
“He has had extensive professional experience in research university libraries, and during his visits to NIU, all constituencies appreciated his insights and communication style,” Alden added. “He has the right mix of talent, enthusiasm and experience needed to lead NIU Libraries.”
As dean, Dawson will serve as the chief administrative officer of University Libraries, which includes Founders Memorial Library, three specialized libraries on campus and libraries at NIU outreach centers in Naperville, Rockford and Hoffman Estates. University Libraries houses 2.2 million volumes and has an annual operation budget of about $9 million. The dean will oversee a professional staff of 30 and a support staff of 76.
Dawson said he was impressed with the NIU campus, community and library, particularly the growing reputation of its digitization unit.
“When I learned of the position, I did some research into NIU and liked what I saw,” he said. “My positive feelings were reinforced during my campus visits earlier this year. I'm looking forward to working with a professional and very good group of people.”
A native of New Mexico, Dawson holds a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in history/Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico. He earned his master of library science degree from the University of Arizona.
He was a member of the Association of Research Libraries Leadership and Career Development Program in 1998 and is a Fellow in the Association of Research Libraries' Research Library Leadership Fellows Program. He has been actively involved in the promotion of innovative and emerging trends and technologies for the improvement of information retrieval and delivery.
Dawson has a focused area of expertise in Chicano Studies as well. While at UCSB, he served as head of the Colección Tloque Nahuaque, a nationally-recognized resource for comprehensive Chicana/o and Latina/o information and specialized reference services. He also has been active on issues related to library services for Latinos and collection development of Hispanic American materials.
“I think my background in this area is important, because a growing number of Latinos are moving into the Chicago region and going to college. It will mean looking at the NIU collection to ensure the needs of the population are met,” Dawson said.
“My goal is to make NIU Libraries the best library it can possibly be,” he added. “It must continue to be an integral part of the learning and research experience.”
Dawson and his wife Sandra have one daughter, 1-year-old Anna. “It's an exciting time for us, and we're very much looking forward to becoming part of the NIU community,” he said.