Wake Forest University has appointed Tim Pyatt as the new dean of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library. Pyatt, who currently serves as the Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair and head of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library at Pennsylvania State University, will begin serving as library dean Aug. 3.
He will succeed Lynn Sutton, who came to Wake Forest in 2004 as library director and became dean in 2009. She was named Vice Provost last summer.
“We are delighted to give this North Carolina native the opportunity to come home and use his extensive experience to continue the innovative and creative practices characterizing the Z. Smith Reynolds Library,” said Provost Rogan Kersh. “Tim Pyatt has exceptional experience across peer schools’ academic libraries, where he has displayed professionalism and creativity of the highest order. He will provide visionary leadership in the role of the library in learning, teaching and research at Wake Forest.”
Kersh chaired a search committee composed of faculty and administrators that recommended Pyatt’s appointment. Pyatt was born in Charlotte and graduated from West Forsyth High School.
Beyond the allure of returning to North Carolina, Pyatt said that the Z. Smith Reynolds library itself was the main attraction.
“Wake Forest is a top university with a great academic tradition, and the ZSR library is distinguished in the landscape of higher education because of its innovation and continued development in areas of user service thanks to Lynn Sutton,” Pyatt said. “The ZSR Library has been on the map a long time, and it’s one of the most desirable places to work in the field. I’m looking forward to being part of its exciting future.”
Pyatt has served at Pennsylvania State University since 2011, arriving there from Duke University where he was the university archivist in the Perkins Library (2002-2011), associate director of the Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library (2006-2010), and coordinator of institutional repository services (2010-2011).
Prior to Duke, he was the director of the Southern Historical Collection and Curator of Manuscripts at UNC-Chapel Hill. Pyatt also taught archival administration at UNC in its School of Information and Library Science from 1998 to 2007.
Pyatt has held several elected offices for the Society of American Archivists (SAA), is a past-president of the Society of North Carolina Archivists and was appointed by the governor to serve on the North Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board from 2000 to 2005. He previously chaired the SAA’s Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct and is a current member of its governing council. In 2012 he was named a Fellow of the Society for outstanding contributions to the profession.
Pyatt holds a bachelor of arts degree in history from Duke University and a master’s of library science from North Carolina Central University.
At Penn State, Pyatt expended special collections services and instruction for students and faculty, launched a summer research travel grant program, and entered into a partnership with the Internet Archives to preserve Penn State websites. He also represented the Library as a faculty senator and member of the faculty affairs committee. During his tenure at Duke, he increased the public programming of their archives, expanded access to the university’s history and ventured into the new world of electronic records, making Duke’s archives a model for other universities.
Pyatt offered leadership for Duke’s special collections library during a time of change and successfully nurtured a new jazz archive program and the gift and processing of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation records. Instrumental in Duke’s born digital program, he started and coordinated the library’s institutional repository DukeSpace that provides access to electronically submitted Duke dissertations, theses and honors papers as well as selected born-digital university records and faculty scholarship. At both Duke and Penn State he participated in initiatives that led to the approval of open access to faculty scholarship policies.
Pyatt said throughout his interview process, he was impressed with the quality and engagement of the library faculty and staff, as well as the university administration. “It’s a wonderful environment that I’m excited to be a part of and I’m really looking forward to this next chapter.”
Pyatt credits his recent completion of the 18-month Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Leadership Fellows program with giving him the additional confidence to apply for the ZSR Library dean position. The executive leadership program is designed and sponsored by ARL member libraries and offers an opportunity for development of future senior-level leaders in large research libraries and archives.
“This program trains the next generation of academic library leaders and it’s one of the things that helped prepare me to take this next step and is one of the pieces of the puzzle of why me and why now,” Pyatt said.
“Wake Forest is a top university with a great academic tradition, and the ZSR library is distinguished in the landscape of higher education because of its innovation and continued development in areas of user service thanks to Lynn Sutton,” Pyatt said. “The library has been on the map a long time, and it’s one of the most desirable places to work in the field. I’m looking forward to being part of its exciting future.”