Brian Keith to heighten excellence in scholarship, research, and academia at historic Booth Library
(Charleston, IL) – After a nationwide search featuring a collection of qualified candidates, Eastern Illinois University has selected Brian Keith to lead Booth Library as EIU’s Dean of Library Services.
“I am beyond excited to join the incredible team at Eastern Illinois University,” Keith said. “The University’s profound commitment to scholarship and student success are passions I share, and I value the opportunity to further enhance EIU’s reputation for excellence across Illinois and beyond. I am extremely impressed with the accomplishments and passion of the Booth Library team, and honored to have the opportunity to contribute to their continued success and positive impacts for the EIU community.”
“We are pleased to welcome Brian to Eastern Illinois University and eager to see how his transformative leadership style will enhance the Booth Library experience for our students, our faculty, and for our diverse communities,” said Dr. Jay Gatrell, EIU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “I want to express appreciation to Dr. Ryan Hendrickson for leading this critical search, and to all members of the search committee for their time, talent, and experience throughout the selection process.”
Keith will bring a wealth of experience and insight to the Charleston, Illinois-based campus after his official start date of July 1, 2023. He joins EIU after 17 years with the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville. His service at UF spans several progressive administrative and library faculty roles, including his latest position: University Librarian as Systems Analytics Librarian and Co-PI on Revitalizing the Digital Library of the Caribbean, a grant awarded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He also has served as Associate Dean (2012-22), Assistant Dean (2009-12), Assistant Director (2008-09), and Program Director (2005-08).
Keith’s career highlights at UF and beyond include implementing impactful strategic initiatives and supports, the analysis and interpretation of operational data and statistics, and providing expertise on connecting library operations with widespread university needs. As a first-generation college student, Brian works to position students to succeed in establishing the academic foundation for a good life. As a library faculty member, Keith cultivated broad advocacy around academic and research libraries and their evolving contributions in higher education and society, helping to foster collaborative opportunities and inspiring the use of emerging and innovative technologies to achieve library and more overarching university goals. He is responsible for researching and launching a variety of new programming models with a focus on the libraries as co-educators and partners in research. Common to these accomplishments is a deep commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion. Keith has robust experience in critical areas like fundraising, budget management, and teambuilding across campuses and curriculums.
Prior to Keith’s service to UF, he held several senior management positions in the not-for-profit sector with the Cathedral Foundation in Jacksonville, from 1996 to 2005. In this highly diverse environment, Keith developed his commitment to servant leadership and leadership accountability, and programmatic excellence focused on the greater good.
Keith’s approach to library management and leadership is further strengthened by grants totaling over $2 million, service awards, international involvement in industry conferences and presentations. His scholarly accomplishments include 5 books; numerous book chapters, refereed journal articles, and conference papers. Keith is also an experienced college instructor, and for the past 6 years has taught a course on information science and intellectual freedom through the UF Honors Program. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and an M.B.A. from the University of Florida in 1994 and 1996, respectively, before earning an additional master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington in 2016.
Joining Keith in Charleston will be his wife Elizabeth and their children, Isabel and Benjamin. Izzy will be a high school freshman and Ben will be an occasional visitor as a freshman at Florida Polytechnic University. The family enjoys traveling and the outdoors, and is very active in the Scouts of America.
For more information about EIU, and to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at www.eiu.edu, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.