University of Galway announces appointment of new Librarian

Monica Crump. Credit - Aengus McMahon
Mar 27 2024 Posted: 12:23 GMT

University of Galway has announced the appointment of Monica Crump as University Librarian.

Ms Crump becomes the 12th Librarian in the University’s history dating back to 1845.

Her appointment is being made as plans get underway for the new, landmark Library and Learning Commons development at the heart of the campus, which will offer a high-tech space for students, for research and for staff, with a focus on enabling learning that is more collaborative, more technology-enhanced and more creative, as well as providing access to books, information and support for students on their learning journey.

President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “I would like to congratulate Monica Crump and wish her every success in the role as our University Librarian, especially as she will play such a crucial part in one of the most important and exciting projects since the establishment of our University – the new Library and Learning Commons.

“Libraries are central to the life of any university, in the heart of our community of learners and researchers. Having worked with her heretofore, including as a fellow member of Údarás na hOllscoile, I know her to be a positive, constructive colleague dedicated to the betterment of our university for the public good. I look forward to working with Monica Crump and her team as we fulfil our ambition of creating a new facility, true to our values of openness, excellence, respect, sustainability, and a sense of belonging that is so important to us all.

“Monica is the most recent of a long-line of illustrious University Librarians at University of Galway. I would also like to acknowledge the dedication of most recent Librarian, now retired, John Cox. Our work in the University is often reflected in the legacy that we leave and the opportunities that we create for others who follow in our footsteps and John takes great credit for the foundations which he laid for the benefit of those who come here to learn, to research and to teach.”

The Library contains more than 500,000 volumes in addition to a comprehensive digital library, including access to more than 1 million e-books and 230,000 electronic journal titles. It is also home to an extensive collection of almost 450 archives including those of Mary Robinson, Conradh na Gaeilge, and John McGahern. Recent innovations include the digitisation of the Kerby A Miller Collection of emigrant letters and the development of an internationally recognised Library Makerspace.

University Librarian Monica Crump said: “It is truly an honour to be selected as the next University Librarian of the University of Galway, following in the footsteps of so many great librarians. The Library has an excellent team committed to ensuring we provide the highest standard information resources, supports, spaces and infrastructure that enable our students, researchers and academic staff achieve excellence in their studies, teaching and research. 

“It will be a privilege to lead our Library team into the exciting future ahead with the development of the new Library and Learning Commons. I look forward to ensuring we realise the opportunities the new building provides to transform our spaces, services and supports to reflect 21st Century teaching and learning. We are also at an important pivot point in the transformation of scholarly publishing, which will see the outputs of research openly accessible to all. Our focus will be to provide the infrastructure, support and guidance that will help the University community navigate the transition to this open research future.”

Monica Crump succeeds John Cox who retired in 2023 after 15 years as University Librarian. Ms Crump has 30 years’ experience working in higher education, as a librarian and a researcher and has particular interests in the ever-evolving world of scholarly communications and publishing, as well as the alignment and development of teams to deliver institutional strategic goals and support evolving user needs.

The list of librarians in the history of the University began with James Hardiman, a noted historian and antiquarian, who held the post from 1845-1855. Others to follow in his footsteps were John Richardson (1855-1877); D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson (1877-1902); Valentine Steinberger (1902-1916); John Howley (1917-1935); Michael J. Fahy (1936-1960); Christopher Townley (1960-1982); Alf MacLochlainn (1982-1987); Patricia O’Connell (1987-1991); Marie Reddan (1991-2008).

University of Galway’s current Library was constructed in 1973 and sits at the heart of the Hardiman Building in the centre of the South Campus. The most recent major redevelopment in the Library took place in 1999.

Planning permission for the Library and Learning Commons was confirmed in summer 2023 for the riverside site off Distillery Road, next to the University’s Sports Centre. It will be an exciting new, sustainable, modern, iconic building - home to a library of the future. 

The building was designed by RKD Architects. It will range in height from four to six storeys with study space, including quiet, individual and collaborative areas; a makerspace and digital scholarship centre enabling digital creativity; the Library’s book and journal collections, many of which will be stored in a Bookbot or high-density, automated storage system; spaces for exhibitions, events and teaching; a welcome zone enabling community engagement; a helpdesk; and spaces for student wellbeing including low-sensory study spaces, a café and relaxation and outdoor spaces.


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