• Harvard University
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  • Library Notes
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  • October 2010
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  • No. 1356
NYPL's Matthew J. Sheehy Will Lead Harvard Depository Print


Matthew J. Sheehy, who will hold the title of Assistant Director of the Harvard University Library for the Harvard Depository, assumes his duties on November 15.

Matthew J. Sheehy, acting director for reference and research services at the New York Public Library (NYPL), has been chosen to lead the Harvard Depository (HD). The announcement was made by Helen Shenton, deputy director of the Harvard University Library, following an extended national search.

"Matthew Sheehy is recognized by his colleagues as an innovator and a change manager," Shenton says. "The hallmarks of his work are insightful thinking, careful analysis, and collaborative leadership that enhance the experience of library patrons."

At the New York Public Library, Sheehy is responsible for all operations relative to ReCAP, the high-density off-site storage facility that NYPL shares with Columbia and Princeton universities.

"What drew me to this position at Harvard," Sheehy says, "is the changing nature of access to resources, whether in print or digital. I am excited by the synergy that can be created from a facility that houses collections from many of the Harvard Libraries, as well as partner institutions, and I see this as an opportunity to work with colleagues dedicated to pushing the boundaries of how information is delivered. My goals are not only to manage an equitable, cost-effective facility supporting the existing services, but also to introduce a palette of new services that will enhance access to the collections."

Marilyn Wood, associate librarian of Harvard College for collection management, chaired the HD search. "We're delighted that Matthew Sheehy is joinging us," Wood states. "He brings extensive experience to Harvard: in excellence in service to users and in issues surrounding library storage facilities and programs."

While overseeing all ReCAP operations, Sheehy also led NYPL's virtual reference team, merged a disparate set of interlibrary loan (ILL) departments into a single comprehensive ILL service, and shifted digital imaging operations from a collection-focused program into a public-facing, print-on-demand program. Significantly, Sheehy defined the library instruction and digital literacy program as a core resource for teaching.

The Harvard Depository was created in 1986 to promote effective use of space on the Harvard campus and to provide a secure, reliable, and cost-effective archival environment for paper-based materials. Today HD houses more than a third of Harvard's 16 million library books.

"Since its inception," Shenton states, "HD has provided the blueprint for many of the world's high-density library storage facilities, including ReCAP. As a storage and retrieval operation, HD has an excellent record.

"With Matthew Sheehy's leadership," Shenton continues, "HD will capitalize on its excellence in storage and retrieval while expanding into new and innovative areas of service. We are delighted to welcome him to the senior management team of the Harvard Libraries."

As Sheehy expresses it, "The Harvard model for off-site storage has been recognized and replicated around the world. Building on the great work that HD has done up until now, I hope to be able to bring a new standard for service that will continue to connect students, faculty, and scholars to the amazing collection at Harvard, while preserving the collection for the future."

Sheehy joined the NYPL staff in 2006 as chief of access and reader services in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library. He was named NYPL's assistant director for reference and research services in 2008, assuming his current position in 2009.

Prior to his service at NYPL, he served as associate dean for technical and access services at Adelphi University (2004–2006), assistant head of access/collection services for the New Brunswick libraries at Rutgers (2003–2004), technical services librarian and assistant professor at Dowling College (2001–2003), and music cataloger and assistant head of the Music Library for SUNY at Stony Brook (2000–2001). Sheehy has a BM in music composition from the University of Hartford/Hartt School of Music, as well as an MA in music history and an MLS from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Matthew J. Sheehy, who will hold the title of Assistant Director of the Harvard University Library for the Harvard Depository, assumes his duties on November 15. He will divide his time between HD in Southborough and Harvard's central campuses in Cambridge, Boston, and Allston. Peter KosewskiThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , Harvard University Library