New dean developing strategic vision for J.D. Williams Library

Published 11:13 am Tuesday, November 29, 2016

By Edwin Smith

University of Mississippi

After helping guide the growth of libraries at the University of Florida for more than 30 years, Cecilia Botero is busy developing a long-term strategy for the J.D. Williams Library at the University of Mississippi.

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“It’s an exciting time at the University of Mississippi, and I knew that I wanted to be part of the future,” said Botero, a native of the South American nation of Colombia who became the university’s new library dean in time for the fall semester.

“I am confident that my background, experience and skills will make for a profitable and successful future together.”

A graduate of the University of Miami and the University of Texas, she was associate dean for discovery and access in the George A. Smathers Libraries and the endowed Fackler Director in the Health Science Center Libraries at the University of Florida.

As Fackler Director, Botero was responsible for all aspects of the management of Florida’s Health Science Center Libraries. The libraries serve the six colleges in the university’s Health Science Center, as well as the clinical and research mission of the center. She supervised 47 full-time employees between the Gainesville and Jacksonville campuses and had oversight of a $4 million budget.

As associate dean for discovery and access, Botero was responsible for all aspects of the Smathers Libraries’ information technology, cataloging and metadata and access services departments. This included supervising 46 employees and helping oversee the more-than-$31 million library budget.

UM administrators and faculty said they’re excited about Botero’s arrival.

“The UM Libraries are the foundation of academic excellence and scholarship at our university,” said Stephen Monroe, president of Friends of the Library and assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Cecilia Botero brings wisdom and experience that will strengthen this foundation.”

“Dean Botero’s experience, professionalism and innovation are well-known in the field of academic librarianship,” said Gail Herrera, assistant dean for technical services and automation and professor of library science. “We consider ourselves fortunate to have her as our new dean of University Libraries and look forward to her leadership at the University of Mississippi.”


Botero said her short- and long-term goals are part of a broader conversation with the library faculty and staff and the university as a whole.

“I’ve been charged with providing a strategic vision for the library and its future direction,” she said. “My goals are ensuring that the library is aligned with the university’s vision and priorities. I’ll also encourage and assist in the provision of the best services, resources and facilities, delivered by the most knowledgeable, professional, efficient and experienced faculty and staff.

“Overall, the library strives to provide the best user experience possible for our patrons, both in terms of services, but also by providing a comfortable and inviting environment conducive to the creation and dissemination of knowledge.”

The new dean’s track record includes a bevy of honors. She is a fellow in the Association of Research Libraries. She reached distinguished member status in the Academy of Health Information Professionals, the credentialing body for medical librarians, and was selected the inaugural Drs. Martin and Sandra Fackler Director of Health Science Center Libraries, the first endowed faculty position in the University of Florida library system.

Yet for Botero, receiving a Superior Accomplishment Award from the University of Florida in 2002 is her most fulfilling honor.

“It was especially meaningful to me because I was nominated and received all the letters of support from my colleagues and my staff,” she said.

Long career

Other positions Botero held during her 30-year employment at the University of Florida include assistant director for content management, assistant director for resource management, manager of the Serials Unit, manager of the Serials Cataloging Unit, and serials and monograph cataloger.

A published author, Botero has written six refereed journal articles and three papers, and been published in two other publications. She also has been an invited presenter at two webinars, a pre-conference workshop, a workshop and an annual meeting, and made 14 additional presentations.

As a researcher, the new dean has served as principal investigator and investigator of both internally and externally funded grants totaling more than $12.6 million. Heavily involved in service at all levels, she has chaired or served on more than 30 national committees, 12 state organization committees and 15 University of Florida committees.

The new dean’s family includes her husband, Steven; daughter, Vanesa; son-in-law, David; and grandson, Logan.

In her leisure time, Botero said she enjoys traveling, exercise, nature and cooking.