Washington, DC. Charles B. Lowry has announced that he will retire from his position as Executive Director of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) at the end of December 2012. By announcing his retirement plans now, Lowry provides the ARL Board of Directors with time for a search and a seamless transition of leadership.
Lowry was appointed Executive Director in 2008 for a three-year term, which was extended for an additional two years at the request of the ARL Board. He has led ARL through significant expansion in membership and renewal of its strategic plan. During his tenure, ARL's capacities and offerings have been strengthened and expanded. Guided by Lowry's leadership, the Association:
- gained three new members—University of Calgary, University of Ottawa, and the US National Archives and Records Administration;
- renewed its strategic plan twice;
- led the reshaping of the Library Copyright Alliance;
- navigated the difficult economic downturn that began in 2008;
- expanded ARL's Public Policies capacity, a vital strategic direction; and
- conducted successful searches to replace three highly accomplished senior staff essential to the Association's mission.
Lowry has focused his public efforts on key national and international issues through presentations and research, including analysis of research library budgets since 2008; ClimateQUAL measures of organizational health and diversity; and the major policy concerns of ARL.
Before coming to ARL, Lowry served as the Dean of Libraries at the University of Maryland College Park (1996–2008). He was appointed professor emeritus and retired from the University of Maryland in 2010. Prior to the University of Maryland, Lowry directed four other academic and research libraries: Carnegie Mellon University, University of Texas at Arlington, University of South Alabama, and Elon University.
Lowry has been active throughout his career in associations and consortia, research and teaching. With colleagues he cofounded and edited two journals—Library Administration and Management, published by the American Library Association, and portal: Libraries and the Academy, published by the Johns Hopkins Press.
"Charles's great strength," said ARL President Carol A. Mandel, "lies in his deep knowledge of the research library mission and the role that the ARL Executive Director must play in a ‘member driven organization' during a time of profound change. He always strikes the right balance between independent and consultative decision making to suit the circumstance."
Reflecting upon his time at ARL, Lowry said, "Many of my colleagues have heard me say that I have been surprised by how great a personal experience this late career segue at ARL has been. It has been an unalloyed pleasure to play a role in protecting and moving forward the positive agenda of research libraries. But I think we do more than that—in my observation over the last 39 years ARL's leadership has contributed much to the whole academic library community."
The ARL Board of Directors is appointing a search committee that will conduct an open search for Lowry's successor. The Board plans to engage a search firm to assist in this process, with the goal of advertising the position in October 2011 and making an appointment no later than December 2012.
About The Association of Research Libraries
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 126 research libraries in the US and Canada. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.