210 Pittsboro Street
Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-6210

T 919-962-2091
F 919-962-2279

News Release

For immediate use

July 22, 2004 -- No. 359

Local angles: Riverside, Calif.;

Salt Lake City; Seattle

For photo information, see end of story.

Trustees appoint Utah’s Sarah Michalak
as new university librarian at Carolina

News Services

CHAPEL HILL – Sarah C. Michalak, a librarian with more than 30 years of experience in higher education, has been appointed university librarian and associate provost for university libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Michalak (pronounced "ma-HOL-ik"), director of the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, will start work Sept. 20. The UNC Board of Trustees today (July 22) approved her appointment. She will succeed Dr. Joe Hewitt, who retired after 29 years with the UNC libraries.

"Sarah brings a wealth of expertise in management, collection-building and all other aspects of librarianship," said Dr. Robert Shelton, provost and executive vice chancellor. "Her passion for realizing the full potential of libraries will ensure that Carolina’s collections remain among the best in the world."

Michalak will oversee the three main libraries and nine branches across campus, with more than 300 staff members. Holdings exceed 5.6 million volumes, about 5 million microforms, 2 million government publications, 19 million manuscripts and thousands of audiovisuals, maps, photographs and electronic titles.

The University Library, or Academic Affairs Library, consists of the Walter Royal Davis Library, which is the main library and emphasizes the humanities and social sciences; the Robert B. House Undergraduate Library, with major reserve reading materials and a media resources center; the Louis Round Wilson Library, with special collections; and nearly a dozen branch libraries covering subjects including art, biology, chemistry, geological sciences, information and library science, math, physics and music. Special collections include the North Carolina, Southern Folklife, Southern Historical and Rare Books collections.

"This appointment, to steward one of the world’s great research libraries, is a supreme honor," Michalak said. "I will do my best to sustain and build upon the excellence of Carolina’s libraries."

Michalak has directed Utah’s Marriott Library since 1995. Her responsibilities include management, policy-making, budgets, campus leadership in advancing use of new technologies and statewide leadership in higher education library programs.

Utah’s libraries have 3.1 million volumes and 264 full-time employees. They include a center in which faculty members learn to use information technology in teaching; writing and multi-media centers; a digital library program and an instructional program reaching more than 20,000 students annually. Special collections concern the history and settlement of the intermountain West; special facilities include a Middle East Library.

From 1996 to 2002, Michalak said, the library’s annual gate count doubled, from 750,000 to 1.5 million. Since 1995, the state share of its budget has increased 30 percent; staff starting salaries have risen by an average of 25 percent; and 14 million has been raised for library renovations.

Previously, Michalak was a librarian at the University of Washington, Seattle, for 16 years. There she led construction and implementation of a major addition to the main library. She founded the library development program and directed nine science libraries.

Michalak’s professional memberships have included service on the boards of the Association of Research Libraries and the Library Administration and Management Association, part of the American Library Association. She is on the steering committee of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, an international group working to solve problems in scholarly communications caused by high prices of science, technology and medical journals.

At the University of California, Riverside, Michalak headed the Bio-Agricultural Library. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Riverside in 1969. She completed a master’s in library science at UCLA in 1970. A native of Iowa, she grew up there and in Riverside.

- 30 -

Photo URL:

Contacts: Through Aug. 30, Michalak can be reached at 801-581-8558 or UNC Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Robert Shelton can be reached at 919-962-2198

News Services contacts: Print: L.J. Toler, 919-962-8589; broadcast, Karen Moon, 919-962-8595