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Melissa Just Appointed ARL Visiting Program Officer for Libraries That Learn

melissa-just
Melissa Just

ARL has named Melissa Just as a visiting program officer (VPO) for the Libraries That Learn initiative from June 2015 to May 2016. Just, a recent graduate of ARL’s Leadership Fellows program, is the associate university librarian (AUL) for research and instructional services at Rutgers University.

The Libraries That Learn initiative is one of five components in ARL’s Strategic Framework 2015+. Libraries That Learn will organize projects and activities to incubate the design, funding, and building of coalitions of libraries that make decisions through evidence-based investments enabling the creation of new concepts, theories, and operational designs in support of research and learning environments. These projects will seek to employ integrated analytical strategies that will mine data for guidance in transforming those environments to better serve their institutions, faculty, and students.

In her role as VPO for Libraries That Learn, Just will engage actively with the initiative’s design team, support the chair of the team, and serve as a liaison between the team and ARL staff. The Libraries That Learn Design Team is charged with accomplishing the following goals by May 2016:

  • Develop a scope and contextual framework for the initiative, incorporating input from the ARL Board of Directors, other stakeholders, and content experts. 
  • Define the breadth, focus, and type of projects or structures that could fall within the initiative’s framework.
  • Identify and solicit projects and activities—from within and without the ARL community—that fit within the framework and that would promote critical aspects of the initiative.
  • Establish criteria for review and approval of projects.
  • Create a process (or processes) for supporting the implementation of projects in the first year.

As the AUL for research and instructional services at Rutgers, Just oversees most of the public-facing services, spaces, and faculty and staff of the Rutgers University Libraries. Her previous experience has been in health sciences libraries, most recently as the director of the University of California (UC), San Diego, Biomedical Library. In addition to an MLIS from the University of Texas, Just holds a doctor of education (EdD) degree from the University of Southern California and a BA in psychobiology from UC Riverside.

Chair of the Libraries That Learn Design Team and vice provost for university libraries at University at Buffalo, Austin Booth, said, “The design team is delighted about Melissa Just’s appointment as the ARL visiting program officer for Libraries That Learn. Her achievements demonstrate leadership, collaboration, and an appreciation for evidence-based decision making that will serve this initiative well.”

Jeanne Boyle, interim vice president for information services and university librarian at Rutgers, said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for Melissa, for the Rutgers University Libraries, and for ARL to develop innovative metrics that will help research libraries better support their communities.”

“I am very pleased to be appointed as a VPO for Libraries that Learn,” said Just. “I look forward to working with the members of the design team and the ARL staff as we explore the role of the library within the context of institutional metrics, analytics, and benchmarking.”

The ARL VPO program provides opportunities for outstanding staff members at ARL member libraries to contribute to special projects and programs, either in whole or in part, in order to advance the agenda of the Association. Visit the ARL website for more information about ARL’s Visiting Program Officer program.


The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.

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