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Peabody alum new dean of Vanderbilt libraries

Posted by on Thursday, June 11, 2009 in Around the Mall, Spring 2009.

Connie Vinita Dowell, M.L.S.’79, with three decades of experience working in academic libraries, began her new position as the university’s first dean of libraries in March. Dowell previously served as dean of the library and information access at San Diego State University. 

Connie Vinita Dowell, MLS’79, is Vanderbilt’s first dean of libraries.
Connie Vinita Dowell, MLS’79, is Vanderbilt’s first dean of libraries.

Under Dowell’s leadership, Vanderbilt will initiate a comprehensive study of its libraries, with a view toward launching a major library-enhancement effort. The Heard Library system has a collection of more than three million volumes and an annual budget exceeding $20 million.

“Being asked to return to Vanderbilt in this capacity is truly a dream come true,” Dowell said. “Vanderbilt’s generosity to me as a student paved the way for my entire career.” 

At San Diego State University Dowell was responsible for the overall guidance and leadership of the library, which has a collection of almost two million volumes.

Prior to going to San Diego, Dowell was employed at Connecticut College for six years, starting as college librarian in 1993 and then dean. In 1998 she became vice president/CIO and oversaw the merger of libraries and computing. Connecticut’s faculty elected her to chair their academic strategic plan for the college.

Dowell earned her master’s in library science from Peabody College in 1979, the same year that Peabody merged with Vanderbilt. She had received her bachelor’s degree in 1977 from Middle Tennessee State University, where she double majored in mass communications and social work.

Dowell is a three-time recipient of the John Cotton Dana Public Relations Award from the American Library Association’s Library Administration and Management Association, and has participated in numerous panels. In 2006, she gave the Library Science Alumni Lecture at Peabody on “Libraries: Rapid Change, Enduring Values.” 


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