February 09, 2017

Alumnus John Pollitz named dean of Library Affairs

by Christi Mathis

John PollitzCARBONDALE, Ill. -- John H. Pollitz, an alumnus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, will be returning to his alma mater as the new dean of Library Affairs.

The SIU Board of Trustees ratified Pollitz’s appointment at its meeting today (Feb. 9).

Pollitz has held a number of higher education library administration positions. Most recently, he has served as the director of libraries for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 2007. During his tenure there, he led a 30-member staff while overseeing a $3.8 million budget. He was also promoted to the rank of full professor, established a student employee scholarship and a diversity internship, led a variety of initiatives and fulfilled a term as president of the Wisconsin Library Association.

Previously, Pollitz was the associate university librarian for public services and innovative technology at Oregon State University, O’Keefe Library Director at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, and assistant director of library automated services at Augustana College in Illinois. He has also taught university classes and served in a variety of professional service positions and activities in the last two decades.

He completed his bachelor’s degree in history/education at SIU Carbondale in 1975. He also holds a master of library science degree from the University of Iowa and earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Denver where he was a doctoral candidate, completing all but his dissertation.

“I am very excited to be coming ‘home,’” Pollitz said. “SIU means so much to me and I am very happy to be able to give something back. Southern Illinois University changed my life in so many ways. I arrived on campus with the goal of becoming an artistic photographer and left with a commitment to a life of scholarship and helping others learn. There were bumps in my road but my career as a librarian has been built on helping students pursue their intellectual curiosity.”

Pollitz’s connection to the university is strong for other reasons as well. He met his wife, Aracely (Manrrique) Pollitz at SIU -- in Morris Library, in fact, when she was a student worker there -- and they’ve been married for 40 years. They have two adult daughters and a granddaughter living in Chicago.

When visiting campus recently, Pollitz said he was “impressed by the energy of everyone in the library and their commitment to SIU. I am thrilled to be able to represent those people to the campus and the community. My goal is to build on the strong foundation that has been established at Morris Library over the years. The university’s commitment to student learning has been given form in the beautifully renovated Morris Library and I will be working with our library faculty and staff to reinforce that commitment every day. It is always my goal to work with the campus faculty to meet their research needs and to furnish students with the resources they need to succeed in their pursuit of learning.”

Pollitz also appreciates SIU’s commitment to sustainability and its designation as a Bicycle Friendly University and he plans “to ride my bike to work every day. There, I said it publicly so I will have to honor this commitment.”

Pollitz will assume his new role at SIU on March 6.