Steven Escar Smith Named Dean of the University of Tennessee Libraries

Marketing and Communications | April 20, 2011

Steven Escar Smith has been named dean of the University of Tennessee (UT) Libraries. Smith currently serves as interim executive associate dean at the Texas A&M University Libraries and holds the C. Clifford Wendler Professorship in Library Administration. He will administer the Hodges Main Library and the branch libraries in music, social work and agriculture and veterinary medicine at the UT system flagship campus in his new role starting June 13.

His extensive library career of 21 years has taken him from reference graduate assistant at the Thomas Cooper Library at the University of South Carolina to associate dean for Collections, Services, and Advancement at Texas A&M. Smith has a doctorate in English literature from Texas A&M, as well as bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature and a master's degree in librarianship from the University of South Carolina.

“Steve Smith will be greatly missed at the Texas A&M University Libraries where he has excelled in everything he’s done from collection building to renovating. He helped put the Cushing Library on the map for its rare and special collections,” commented Charles Gilreath, interim dean of the University Libraries.

Recognized internationally for his expertise in building rare and special collections, Smith served as director of the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives from 2001 to 2007. He led recruitment of major collections in printing arts, French history, Mexican Colonial, and major literary figures such as Walt Whitman and Miguel de Cervantes. He also recruited the papers of contemporary Texas writers and artists, launching a program of major exhibits and catalogues at Cushing Library.

In 2001 he founded the Book History Workshop at Cushing Library. Presented annually in May, the workshop attracts participants interested in the printing arts nationwide. Participants get hands-on experience in book and papermaking, including type setting.

Most recently, he led the Reimagine the Library project, a major renovation of the Sterling C. Evans Library’s first floor featured in the American Libraries’ “Design Showcase” for 2011 with other selected libraries nationwide.

Smith delivered the university's 2007 Distinguished Faculty Lecture, "The Book, Google and the Future of the Research Library." He received the Distinguished Librarianship Award from the Association of Former Students in 1997. He is a member of the Grolier Club and the Philosophical Society of Texas, as well as numerous professional associations. He has published extensively on book collections, services and fundraising, most recently in the Chronicle of Higher Education.