UO Libraries Welcomes New Leaders

Joe Williams and Le Yang will join the University of Oregon Libraries in senior leadership roles, accelerating the development of UO Libraries as a center for research development, student engagement, and knowledge stewardship, with local and global impact.

Joe Williams has been appointed Associate Vice Provost and University Librarian for Research, Instruction, and Access Services (AVPUL-RIAS) for the University of Oregon Libraries, beginning August 1. His portfolio includes responsibility for public services, instructional and e-learning programs, research data services, undergraduate engagement, and textbook affordability programs across all seven library locations.

Joe comes most recently from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he held the role of Director of Public Services, overseeing a service division encompassing data visualization, media literacy, and digital humanities programs crossing six departments and four physical facilities. Joe brings over 20 years of administrative, management, and higher education experience to the role, having previously held leadership roles at UNC Greensboro, North Carolina State University and Texas A&M. He is an experienced classroom educator, having developed and taught credit-bearing courses such as Public Health Informatics through the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Texas A&M, as well as non-credit workshops and courses; and has presented and published broadly on topics related to information education and change management, including Teaching with technology: An academic librarian’s guide (Oxford: Chandos). His recent work has focused on demonstrating research impact, developing data science frameworks within academic libraries, and the pursuit of equity in academic service roles.

Joe was a participant in the Racial Equity Institute and applied these tools as a leader supporting the UNC Libraries’ notable Reckoning Initiative. He is an alum of the Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians, the Leading Change Institute, and an active member of Educause. He holds a Master of Science in Library Science from UNC Chapel Hill and a BA in Environmental Studies with a concentration in policy from Warren Wilson College.

Le Yang has been appointed Associate Vice Provost and University Librarian for Collections and Discovery Services, beginning May 15.

Le comes most recently from the international branch campus of Kean University in Wenzhou, China, where he was Acting Director of the University Library and Chen Tianlong Art Museum, following progressively responsible roles in collections and Library Information Technology.

Le was recognized in this role for leading the rapid, cost-effective development of digital library infrastructure and founding a new digital scholarship center on campus. He is credited with transformational development of the Library on campus during a time when Kean was focused on growing its institutional research profile, using his persuasive skills to secure external funding to support necessary growth and earning the esteem of a diverse international faculty body.

Prior to that, Le interned at Yale and Brown Universities before taking on a tenure-track Metadata Librarian role at Texas Tech University, where he headed a digital lab and developed a range of digital collections and taught data management seminars. He earned the Trailblazer Award from the Texas Conference on Digital Libraries for teamwork on an innovative project to curate and provide access to audiovisual thesis materials, such as recordings of student and faculty musical and theatrical recitals. Le has also served as an investigator on funded research to develop protocols and platforms for borrowing and lending 3D models and objects, an important example of the types of research data or scholarly output that libraries must effectively support into the future.

Le earned his MLIS with a specialization in Digital Librarianship and an MA in Communication Studies at the University of Rhode Island, as well as a Bachelor of International Economics and Trade from the South China University of Technology. He has been recognized for leadership both nationally and internationally, earning the Rising Leader Award of the Joint Council on Librarians of Color in 2018 and the President’s Recognition Award of the Chinese American Librarians Association in 2019.

Already an established scholar in the field of digital librarianship, Le is currently pursuing PhD dissertation research on library resource sharing across international borders. He was recognized with Texas Tech’s Barnie E. Rushing, Jr. Faculty Outstanding Research Award in 2017.

“The addition of Le and Joe to the University of Oregon Libraries brings key talent and experience to the work of building and sustaining a high-impact research library for our cross-national, interdisciplinary, data-intensive knowledge future,” said Vice Provost and University Librarian Alicia Salaz. “Both Le and Joe will help us lead the way in creating inclusive, just, and sustainable information systems that serve the UO and the world beyond, now and for generations into the future.”

With these hires, the UO Libraries’ senior leadership team is complete, having added all new members during the 2021-22 academic year. The current leadership team comprises Alicia Salaz as Vice Provost and University Librarian (VPUL), Rebecca DesPrez as executive assistant to the VPUL, Evey Lennon as Associate VPUL for Central Services, Le Yang as Associate VPUL for Collections and Discovery Services, and Joe Williams as Associate VPUL for RIAS, all since last June.

“I am proud to present this team to the UO community,” stated Salaz, “each member of which brings complementary strengths to the leadership of a great research library at the heart of a premier public research university.”