University Librarian Brings Experience from Utah

Sarah Michalak, a librarian with more than 30 years of experience in higher education, is Carolina’s new University librarian. She succeeds Joe Hewitt ’60, who retired June 30 after 29 years.

Michalak has directed the J. Willard Marriot Library at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City since 1995. Before that, she served as a librarian at the University of Washington in Seattle for 16 years. Her experience includes management, policy-making, budgeting, advancing the use of new technologies and leadership in statewide higher-education library programs.

Michalak will oversee more than 300 employees at UNC’s three main libraries and nine branches. UNC’s holdings exceed 5.6 million volumes, 5 million microforms, 2 million government publications, 19 million manuscripts and thousands of audiovisuals, photographs, maps and electronic titles.

“I’m really impressed with the comprehensiveness of the libraries,” Michalak said. “I’m excited over the wonderful collections and beautiful buildings.”

Among the achievements Michalak listed for her tenure in Utah was a salary increase for entry-level library positions, to $18,500 from $12,500 a year. She expects the pay to rise to $20,000 in the next year. At the University of Washington, she oversaw construction of a major addition to the main library.

Laura Gasaway, chair of the selection committee, said Michalak’s experience as director of a major research library distinguished her among the candidates for the post. Utah’s libraries have 3.1 million volumes and 264 full-time employees.

“She has great knowledge and a lot of experience in fund raising,” Gasaway said. “She has very strong personnel skills and is very well-known. She is also very understated, but you get a feeling of quiet competence from her.”

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