Carolyn Henderson Allen became the dean of the University Libraries at the University of Arkansas on October 1, 2000. Before she came to Arkansas, she served as Deputy Director of University Libraries at the University of Florida for eight years and Director for Support Services there for ten years, managing the administrative operations of the University of Florida library system, which had a budget of over $20 million. She was also appointed Acting Director of Collection Management while at Florida from 1998 to 2000, coordinating the work of approximately thirty librarians throughout the library system. Before her work at the University of Florida, Allen served as Associate University Librarian for Administrative Services at the University of Southern California from 1988 to 1990, managing the day-to-day operations of seven libraries. Before then, she was Library Personnel Officer at Stanford University from 1977-1987, responsible for over 350 full-time employees. From 1975 to 1978 she served as head of the Undergraduate Reserves Department at the University of Tennessee. During her time at the University of Tennessee and in the years before then beginning in 1966, she performed with various modern and jazz dance troupes in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and California.
In the seven years she has been at the University, Dean Allen and her staff have made significant strides in developing numerous library programs through a vigorous planning process involving the identification of strategic initiatives as well as active team participation of library faculty and staff. She has systematized the library’s collection development program and has initiated a very active public services program that includes a regular lecture/exhibit/concert series, which has enlivened the campus environment and has raised the profile and role of the library in campus intellectual life.
During the active University’s Campaign for the 21st Century, Dean Allen raised over $34 million in gifts, pledges and endowments, the majority of funds coming from a generous gift of the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. Most of the funds available from this trust are being spent on collections and services, especially in support of the Graduate School and Honors College.
Dean Allen recently established a major collaborative body called the Council of University of Arkansas Research Libraries, consisting of the library deans and directors of the six four-year UA institutions in the state. The goals are to develop shared collection development resources, to provide public access to unique collections and archives, to provide a Web portal dedicated to K-12 education resources, and to implement shared staff development programs.
Looking ahead, Allen envisions the library becoming more actively involved in initiatives for preserving print materials and taking a leadership role in digitizing projects and cooperative sharing of collections within the state. She plans to bolster the Libraries’ digital collections program, making available to students, faculty, and the public the unique and original print resources the Libraries house in Special Collections. She is currently engaged in dialog with architects in the planning phase for a major renovation and expansion of Mullins Library.
Dean Allen has served as Chair of the Greater Western Library Alliance, chair of the ACRL Committee on the Status of Academic Librarians, chair of the Board of Trustees for the regional library consortia Amigos, chair of the Council of University of Arkansas Research Libraries, the Walton Arts Center Foundation Board, chair of the Washington Regional Medical Center Foundation Board Eagle Awards Committee, and member of the Washington Regional Medical Center Gala Steering Committee.