By: Diane Stirling
Joseph P. Lucia, G ’82, recently was named by Temple University President Neil Theobald to lead Temple's library system as dean of university libraries, a position that promises to include several bold new library and community initiatives.
Lucia will be overseeing Temple University’s nine libraries, including those at Temple University Japan and Temple University Rome, as well as Temple University Press. He also will be leading a major program of library development, including the construction of a new signature building at Temple's Main Campus, which will connect the university with the greater Philadelphia community.
In announcing Lucia’s appointment, Theobald noted that Temple and its library system are at a critical moment, having “renewed momentum and the prospect for a bold new library.” He called Lucia “a deep thinker who has spearheaded the refurbishment of an award-winning library at a world-class institution,” and someone who “has the right experience to lead and grow our library system.”
Lucia had been university librarian and director of Falvey Memorial Library at Villanova University since 2002, where he spearheaded several initiatives that drew national attention. They included establishing a campus-wide community reading program, developing open source discovery software; creating a substantial digital library (hosted on locally built open source digital library software); and establishing open access publishing initiatives featuring university-sponsored journals supported by library development teams. He also led creation of a multi-disciplinary Learning Commons as part of a series of and developed an active program of cultural and intellectual events, according to Temple University.
Prior to his time at Villanova, Lucia served as director for library technology and access services within Information Resources at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. He also served from 2009 to 2012 as a member of the board of trustees of Lyrasis, the nation's largest non-profit regional membership organization serving libraries and information professionals. He was Lyrasis' founding president from 2009 to 2010. He currently serves on the boards of Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc. and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance.Also a published poet, Lucia taught creative writing for seven years at Lehigh, where he also published an independent small-press literary magazine. In addition to his master’s degree in library science from Syracuse, Lucia holds an MA in English from the University of Toronto and a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal.
Of the appointment, Lucia stated, “I'm grateful for the opportunity to be part of a university and a library system that are in such a dynamic moment in their institutional development. Libraries stand for how culture is created, how culture is shared. That has symbolic power and practical force, especially as we engage what a library is in the digital age. We need to 'future-proof' libraries. We need to articulate that the library's mission goes beyond collections of physical stuff. The prospect of building a new library resting on these principles — especially at an urban university with Temple's mission of civic engagement — is hugely exciting.”
According to the University, Temple’s library system has an aggregate budget of $24 million (including $13 million for collections) and employs approximately 50 professional staff, 70 support staff and 40 full-time-equivalent student assistants. From 2004 to 2011, Temple University Libraries rose from No. 83 to No. 57 in the Association of College and Research Libraries rankings.
Lucia’s appoinment took effect July 1.