UB librarian named first ARL Leadership Fellow from a SUNY institution

Portrait of Jessica Clemons.

Jessica Clemons is an associate university librarian for research, education and outreach for University Libraries. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

Jessica Clemons among 30 librarians selected in North America to undergo executive training program

Release Date: January 8, 2018

“I will be part of the cohort of library leaders that sees the impact of artificial intelligence, open access, globalization and more.”
Jessica Clemons, associate university librarian for research, education and outreach for University Libraries

BUFFALO, N.Y. – University at Buffalo librarian Jessica Clemons was named a member of the seventh cohort of Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Leadership Fellows, a prestigious program tasked with developing the future executive leaders of large research libraries and archives.

Clemons, an associate university librarian for research, education and outreach, is among 30 individuals selected from across North America to participate in the highly competitive, 18-month program. She is the first SUNY librarian to be admitted to the fellowship.

“The selection of Jessica Clemons as an ARL Leadership Fellow is testimony to Jessica’s extraordinary leadership skills. She is, without a doubt, one of the emerging leaders in our profession,” said Austin Booth, vice provost for University Libraries.

Clemons, who will begin the fellowship Feb. 12 during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado, said, “It has been meaningful to have Austin's and University Libraries' support and encouragement to pursue this opportunity. She is a strong mentor for me, which has directly contributed to my success at UB.”

Throughout the program, participants will attend weeklong learning sessions at the fellowship’s sponsoring libraries: the University of Iowa, George Washington University and the University of Florida. Fellows will also receive individual coaching, participate in online workshops, attend conferences around the nation and shadow senior leadership at prominent research libraries.

“Libraries are in the throes of change in the best possible way as we strategically redesign our spaces, services, partnerships and staff. I will be part of the cohort of library leaders that sees the impact of artificial intelligence, open access, globalization and more,” said Clemons.

“My ambition is to be a leader that can guide research libraries through these rapid changes. I’m looking forward to attending this program so that I can share ideas from my background in University Libraries and bring provocative ideas back to UB.”

Clemons joined UB in January 2017 to lead the research, education and outreach team, the widest-ranging unit in University Libraries. She manages the university’s subject and liaison librarians, and oversees the use of scholarly information by faculty and researchers.

Clemons also manages UB’s open educational resource project, a SUNY initiative designed to encourage faculty to adopt free and public learning materials. Eight UB faculty have joined the growing project, helping nearly 1,500 students save money on the cost of textbooks.

In 2013, Clemons was named to the 2013 class of ALA Emerging Leaders. She is also the president of the academic and special library section of the New York Library Association.

She has published book chapters and articles in academic journals, and presented nationally and internationally. Clemons has also authored a chapter in the upcoming book, “Scholarship in the Sandbox: Academic Libraries as Laboratories, Forums, and Archives for Student Work.”

“Thinking about my career as a librarian, I am most proud of the strong collaborations I have had the privilege of creating,” said Clemons. “Working with and learning from people across and outside the institution has been immensely satisfying.”

Clemons earned a master’s degree in geographic information from Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree in library sciences from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

She resides in East Aurora.

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