CIC CLI Director Mark Sandler to Retire

Jun 12, 2015

Mark Sandler, Director of the CIC Center for Library Initiatives, has announced his retirement, effective February 29, 2016. Now entering his tenth year of service to the CIC and its 15 member universities, Dr. Sandler also served for 20 years on the staff of the University of Michigan Library.

Mark has led the CIC university libraries through a period of unprecedented strategic collaboration and growth, overseeing the implementation of a contract with Google to digitize 10 million book volumes in the university libraries, the acceleration of a portfolio of coordinated licenses and contracts exceeding $39 million, the development of an annual shared pool of $3.5 million for coordinated library acquisitions, and the establishment of a shared print repository resulting in significant shelf storage relief for participating CIC universities.

A late transplant to the Midwest from New York City (with a brief side trip to Arkansas) Mark brings a mix of idiosyncratic brilliance and affability to his work. A frequent guest lecturer, speaker, and author, he is known for his unorthodox and iconoclastic contributions to the literature, with such titles as “Hopelessly Lost, But Making Good Time: Libraries Rushing Hither and Yon,” “Kentucky Fired Libraries: Battered and Chewed up in the Digital Marketplace,” and “The Buzzards are Circling, and other Library Metrics."

Said John Wilkin, Chair of the CIC Library Directors, and the Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: “Mark has been an extraordinary colleague and has brought a kind of  ‘MacGyver mode’ to our efforts: finding paths of least resistance, using connections, and parlaying one thing for another. He has never let himself be a slave to conventional ways of thinking about our mission, our hurdles or our opportunities. He famously seduces us with analogies that remind us of our foolish obstinacy in pursuing outdated and ineffective strategies. Mark has helped us make progress and yet has never compromised his sense of humor or his remarkable cynicism. His is a particular, marvelous and unique kind of change agency.”

Wendy Lougee, University Librarian and McKnight Presidential Professor, University of Minnesota, who also served with Mark on the staff of the University of Michigan Library said:  “Under Mark’s leadership, the portfolio of CIC’s library initiatives has grown and developed to a whole new level, offering an exceptional model of collective action and delivering benefits to our institutions simply not possible if acting individually. His mix of bravado and astute strategy has resulted in remarkable accomplishments for CIC.” 

Noting Sandler's impact on the field, CIC Executive Director, Barbara McFadden Allen remarked that, "Mark is a distinctive and influential presence at the national and international level. Legendary for his effectiveness in promoting and implementing positive change, he is also known for his unorthodox approach and capacity for holding opposing viewpoints and arguing them effectively. His career in service to libraries has been marked by his leadership of or participation in some of the most significant and historic advances, including the mass digitization of collections, the negotiation of very large scale and creative licenses for library resources, and his unrelenting quest to rid libraries of the unnecessary vestiges of legacy work processes and systems. He has made his mark on the libraries of the CIC universities, and we are all the better for his efforts." 

Mark received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the City University of New York, his Ph.D. from Michigan State University (Sociology), and his AMLS from the University of Michigan (Library Administration).

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