Someone new is coming to take care of the books at Ohio State, but she is no stranger to the university.

Carol Pitts Diedrichs has been named director of University Libraries, where she will oversee 16 library facilities on the Columbus campus, six on regional campuses and more than 400 staff members. She will begin
in January, pending approval by the OSU Board of Trustees.

“I am deeply honored to have been named the new director of University Libraries at Ohio State. Ohio State is one of the great public, land-grant universities,” Diedrichs said. “Its libraries are impressive — especially the newly renovated Thompson Library.”

Diedrichs worked with OSU libraries for 16 years before accepting an offer to serve as dean of libraries at the University of Kentucky.

“I have a deep fondness for Ohio State that made this particular position of great interest to me,” Diedrich said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to return to Ohio State and as President [E. Gordon] Gee has said to me, ‘Start thinking Buckeye.'”

Under her leadership, students can expect a continued focus on services and programs that support them, she said.

In addition, “the libraries will continue to play a critical role in the intellectual life of the campus,” she said.

Diedrichs graduated from Baylor University in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in library science. She received her master’s degree in library science from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981.

The search for a new director began last April when the former director of University Libraries, Joseph Branin, announced his move to Saudi Arabia, where he will serve as founding director of the Library and Museum for King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

Nominations and initial screening processes for a permanent director began in early July. The final three candidates — Lorraine Haricombe, dean of the libraries at the University of Kansas; Colleen Cook, dean of the libraries at Texas A&M University; and Diedrichs — were all interviewed in late August.

Raimund E. Goerler, assistant director to the University Libraries since 2000, has been interim director since early June.

“Right now, the executive committee is engaged in discussing what events and steps ought to be necessary to introduce Carol Diedrichs to the Library and University community,” Goerler said. “We will be working in concert with academic affairs so that when she arrives there will already be a sequence of events to serve.”

Serving as director of Libraries is far from an easy task, Goerler said, comparing the role to that of a ship captain.

“As director, you need to be responsive to immediate concerns and constituencies,” he said. “While you’re addressing cracks and leaks in the ship you also need to be having an eye out for the future — not only to keep the ship afloat but to steer it in the direction that is appropriate to the university’s mission.”

Diedrichs and Goerler are both enthusiastic about the future.

“I’ve followed Ohio State with great interest since my departure,” Diedrichs said. “It has wonderful leadership, talented faculty and students, and a world-class library system.”