Wednesday, January 12, 2005


North Carolina State University librarian Susan Nutter has been named LIBRARY JOURNAL's 2005 Librarian of the Year, just the second academic librarian to win the award in its 17-year history. CSU Northridge's Susan Curzon won the award in 1993. "People don't think of institutions like ours," Nutter tells LJ's John Berry. "They always think of the big names and think that is where things are happening. I had to put this place on the map, both in
this area, and in the state and nationally." Nutter has done just that. Under Nutter's leadership, NCSU, with 3.2 million volumes, has risen to 32nd from 99th among ARL libraries.

Among service innovations, NCSU was one of the first to offer reference, circulation, and security services 24/7 throughout the academic year. It was one of the first libraries in the nation to create a Learning Technologies Service to help faculty develop online courses, and one of the first to hire an intellectual property attorney--with copyright an issue dear to Nutter and vital, she says, to the future of academic libraries. "We have to take back copyright," she says. "It
can't just be us. It is going to have to be the universities and the faculties. I'm optimistic about the future of libraries if we are smart and we change--if we act and don't allow ourselves to think that we have some entitlement to what we do."

What is the driving force behind Nutter's success? In a word, staff. In Nutter's view, the library's staff is its primary asset. "It isn't what you're going to do," she explains, "but who is going to do it that is important." The library often goes through three or four interviews before it fills a vacancy, looking not only for knowledgeable candidates, but those who are creative and self-motivated. That means rigorous searches, higher salaries, and getting the NCSU Friends group to fund moving and relocation expenses. Also, Nutter says she always reserves a number of jobs for new graduates, an idea she got from Jay Lucker, when she worked for him at MIT. "We won't have a profession if we don't hire people out of graduate school," she says, quoting Lucker. To read the full profile of Nutter, pick up the January issue of LJ, out this week.