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As dean of libraries, Steve Smith administers the John C. Hodges Library and two branch libraries on UT’s flagship campus in Knoxville and oversees an annual budget of over $20 million, a collection of more than 3.5 million books, over 60,000 journal and serial subscriptions, and hundreds of thousands of databases, digital collections, and other electronic resources.
Dean Steve heads a group of over 50 librarians, over 100 staff, and more than 70 student workers who are devoted to providing excellence in library facilities, collections, and services. The UT libraries provide 24/7 access to electronic resources and 24/5+ access to library facilities. The libraries are among the top 30 public research libraries in the US and rank third among libraries in the SEC.
Since arriving at UT in 2011, Steve has: led over $4 million in renovation projects; upgraded infrastructure and research spaces; expanded library hours; instituted new student outreach and engagement activities; successfully lobbied for increases in staffing and materials budgets; and added staff positions to support data curation, digital humanities, media literacy, and other trends in 21st century libraries.
Steve has worked at the state level to improve library resources for all the citizens of Tennessee. In partnership with the State Librarian, he leads a state-level effort for cooperative preservation of scientific and scholarly journal literature. Steve currently serves on the advisory boards of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, and the University of Tennessee Press.
Steve once headed special collections and archives at Texas A&M, where he was founding director of the renowned book history workshop. He still holds a particular affection for the rare and unique collections in these repositories. To increase awareness and use of UT’s special collections, he has instigated an expansion of Special Collections exhibit spaces into the heavily trafficked Jack E. Reese Galleria.
Fund raising is another area that has long engaged Steve’s interest. At UT, he has revamped the donor support program — recently rechristened the Library Society of the University of Tennessee.
Steve holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English and a master’s in librarianship from the University of South Carolina, as well as a PhD in English from Texas A&M.
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