Transition at the USC Libraries

Dear USC Libraries Community,

Dean Catherine Quinlan has shared with me her decision to step down as Dean of the USC Libraries and holder of the Valerie and Ronald Sugar Dean’s Chair, effective June 30, 2022. I am grateful for her accomplishments since arriving at USC in 2007 and her dedication to the essential role of the libraries in our academic and creative communities. Dean Quinlan has been a persistent champion of our libraries as vital sites of invention and creation, as well as preservation and reflection.

Throughout her 15 years of leadership, Dean Quinlan has guided the University’s efforts to increase the libraries’ impact in teaching, learning, research, and creative practice and to expand the libraries’ reach beyond USC. In 2017, Dean Quinlan launched the Collections Convergence Initiative to integrate library collections and practices into teaching and research across key, distinctive collecting areas—California and the West; Holocaust, genocide, and exile studies; LGBTQ+ history and culture; East Asian history and culture; and music and cultural production.

Dean Quinlan worked with the late Sidney Harman, Presidential Professor and Isaias W. Hellman Professor of Polymathy and USC Trustee Jane Harman among others to establish the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study as part of the USC Libraries. As a result of Dean Quinlan’s initiative, the Academy has now grown to include the Ahmanson Lab, a space for the critical, hands-on inquiry that was central to Sidney Harman’s vision.

As the host institution for the research collective L.A. as Subject, the libraries under Dean Quinlan’s leadership have worked to preserve and share the less-visible histories of Los Angeles communities. This has taken many forms, including building capacity of community archives through resident-archivist programs and the Emmy-winning, archives-based Lost L.A. documentary series with KCET public television.

Established by Dean Quinlan in partnership with the USC Shoah Foundation and Information Technology Services, the USC Digital Repository has grown into a provider of advanced digital preservation for major collections of academic and corporate partners, including USC schools, Harvard University, the Albanian Human Rights Project, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Los Angeles Chargers.

In collaboration with the USC Marshall School, Dean Quinlan spearheaded the USC Master of Management in Library and Information Science program which is well-positioned to help shape a more inclusive future for library leadership focusing on management, integrated with the fundamentals of librarianship.

President Folt joins me in expressing her gratitude to Dean Quinlan. We wish her continued success as she returns to the library faculty.

We will now begin the process of assembling the search advisory committee that will identify and recruit the next dean of the USC Libraries. I seek your nominations of Library faculty and staff who should serve on this committee. I look forward to your recommendations; please send them to by April 1, 2022. More information will be forthcoming on the committee.


Charles F. Zukoski
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

cc: Office of the President
Academic Deans
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Provost’s Leadership Team
Academic Senate
Staff Assembly
GSG President
USG President