Thomas W. Shaughnessy came to the University of Minnesota Library in 1989 from the position as Director of Libraries at the University of Missouri--Columbia . He has also held management positions at the University of Houston Libraries and Rutgers University. He received his MLS from the University of Pittsburgh and his Ph.D. from Rutgers. In 1996, Shaughnessy was awarded the American Library Association Hugh Atkinson Memorial Award in recognition of his many contributions to librarianship. Shaughnessy has been a member of the boards of the Research Libraries Group, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Public Affairs Information Services, and currently is a member of the OCLC Board of Trustees. He is the author of numerous books and articles on library services and administration and a frequent speaker in the U.S. and abroad on these topics.

During Shaughnessy's administration, major accomplishments include: implementing the Virtual Electronic Library (a shared online catalog project within the CIC); implementing and enhancing numerous technological innovations including electronic course reserves, Research Quick Start and Quick Study (online, interactive services to help undergraduates locate and use library resources), and InfoPoint (online reference service for distance education students); and building the Elmer L. Andersen Library, which combines an above-ground facility housing eight special collections and archives with two below-grade caverns for storing lessor used materials. An important a current project is the renovation of Walter Library and creating a state-of-the-art digital technology center for the campus and new Science and Engineering Library; and securing legislative funding for MnLINK, a shared, state-wide automated system to be implemented in 2002.

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