Jennifer Younger to step down as director of libraries

Author: Dennis Brown

Jennifer Younger

Jennifer Younger is stepping down as Edward H. Arnold Director of Hesburgh Libraries at the University of Notre Dame, effective at the end of the current academic year, to take on a new role with the Catholic Research Resources Alliance. Thomas G. Burish, Notre Dame’s provost, will initiate a national search for Younger’s successor.

“We are indebted to Jennifer for the vital role she has played in the many advances in the Hesburgh Libraries over the past 13 years,” Burish said. “From significantly advancing across the disciplines electronic access to materials, to renovating the lower level of Hesburgh Library, to expanding collections, to planning and implementing the libraries’ capital campaign efforts, she has provided the leadership and made the strategic decisions that have enabled the libraries to experience substantial growth and improvement.”

Said Younger: “Since 1997, it has been my great pleasure to have led the Hesburgh Libraries in a period of sustained growth and success, made possible by expanded University support and the achievements of an outstanding library faculty and staff. We have been inspired by the extraordinary vision of Father Hesburgh 40 years ago in building a great library for Notre Dame.”

During her tenure, Younger oversaw a major redesign and renovation of the lower level of the University’s primary library facility, the Hesburgh Library. Completed in 2002, the project created an efficient yet aesthetically pleasing environment for study, library services and collection storage, including installation of compact shelving, expansion of special collections and telecommunications, and relocation of microtext, government documents and other materials to create more room elsewhere in the building and in library branches on campus. Phase two of the of the building’s renovation, which will include work on the first and second floors, is in its early stages.

Other initiatives led by Younger include the creation of specific library objectives within the University’s current capital campaign, improvement of reserves and other teaching and support systems and services, recruitment of numerous and superb library faculty and staff, and efficient and effective organizational changes.

Younger has represented Notre Dame in the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA), a collaborative effort among 11 member universities to share their resources electronically with librarians, archivists, researchers, scholars and members of the general public who are interested in the Catholic experience. The mission of the CRRA is to provide enduring global access to Catholic research resources, with an immediate focus on creating access to those rare, unique and uncommon research materials relating to every aspect of Catholicism which are held by Catholic college, university and seminary libraries and archives in North America.

Notre Dame is among the eight founding members of the alliance, and Younger chairs the organization’s board of directors.

“I am very pleased to continue my involvement in this collaborative initiative to share resources with scholars in all fields interested in the Catholic experience,” Younger said. “As a founding member of the CRRA, Notre Dame has played a key role in creating global access to the vast array of materials held by Catholic institutions in North America. Scholars note the ever-increasing recognition of the importance of including Catholics in the broader historical and cultural narrative, resulting in new work in many fields. I look forward with a sense of accomplishment but, more importantly, great excitement at the opportunity ahead to advance the dissemination of Catholic scholarship and enhance the generation of new knowledge.”

CRRA board member Artemis Kirk, the university librarian at Georgetown University, said: “Jennifer has been the driving force behind the creation of the Catholic Research Resources Alliance, and all of its members are indebted to her for her leadership. We’re delighted that she can devote even more of her energy and expertise to strengthening the alliance, and we appreciate Notre Dame’s commitment in understanding the importance of the CRRA.”
More information on the CRRA is available online at

Younger earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to her appointment at Notre Dame, she served for six years as assistant director for technical services in the university libraries at Ohio State University. She also held various library positions at her alma mater, Northwestern University and the U.S. Department of State.

In addition to leadership positions in the Association of Research Libraries, the Center for Research Libraries, the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, and OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc., she is the author of some two dozen articles for professional journals and other publications, and she has made more than 60 presentations to conferences, meetings, symposiums and other events nationwide. She will receive the Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Library and Information Studies Alumni Association during the school’s commencement ceremonies in May.