University of Michigan associate university librarian John P. Wilkin has been named university librarian and dean of libraries at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, effective Aug. 16, pending approval by the U. of I. Board of Trustees at its July 24 meeting in Chicago.
Illinois Provost Ilesanmi Adesida said Wilkin brings a broad skill set and valuable expertise to Illinois. “John began his academic career with a degree in literature, and he has been involved in the digital preservation of library collections since the mid-1990s,” Adesida said. “He has a proven track record of developing and implementing a clear vision for the library of the 21st century.”
His involvement in mass digitization as a means of preserving library books goes back over a decade. Wilkin received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 1997 to digitize the “Middle English Dictionary” and make it accessible online. In 1999, he received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for the digitization of 7,500 19th-century monographs published in the U.S.
This work poised Wilkin to lead HathiTrust when it began about a decade later. In his role as executive director, he successfully guided HathiTrust’s defense when the Authors Guild sued HathiTrust and a handful of its partner libraries. (The guild has filed an appeal.)