Skip to main content

New vice provost for UW–Madison Libraries chosen

October 31, 2023 By Käri Knutson
A photo portrait of Erla P. Heyns standing in front of library shelves filled with books.

Erla P. Heyns will begin her position as head librarian and vice provost for University Libraries on Jan. 1, 2024. Heyns has garnered a national reputation for leadership in mentoring and brings extensive experience in university library administration.

Erla P. Heyns, associate professor and associate dean for learning at Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies in West Lafayette, Ind., has been selected as the next university librarian and vice provost for University Libraries. She will join the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus on Jan. 1, 2024. Heyns has been with Purdue University since 2016. Previously, she was at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, serving as the director of the Flower/Sprecher Veterinary Library and the coordinator for the engineering, math and physical sciences libraries. Before that, she was the head of Indiana University’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation Library.

“My deep interest and experience in staff mentoring and staff development will allow me to be an effective leader for UW–Madison Libraries and create a positive impact on organizational culture,” Heyns says. “As a passionate advocate for libraries, I am enthusiastic about collaborating across the university.”

She received a doctoral and master’s degree from the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University, a master’s degree in advanced clinical practice from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, and a bachelor’s degree in history and Afrikaans/Dutch literature from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

At Purdue University, she has led the teaching and learning work for Purdue Libraries, focusing on campus engagement, collaborating with associate deans and other leaders involved in student success. Heyns has worked with librarians and staff to develop new ways to integrate the work of librarians with academic departments. She also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on mentoring at Purdue and mentoring workshops nationally.

“Dr. Heyns has a tremendous record of advocating for libraries and focusing on campus engagement to promote their services,” says Provost Charles Isbell. “I am extremely pleased to have someone of her experience and broad interests joining our academic community. She is nationally recognized, for example, for leadership in mentoring.”

Heyns will succeed Lisa Carter, who left the role to become dean of libraries and university librarian at the University of Michigan. Lesley Moyo, associate university librarian for public services, and Lee Konrad, associate university librarian for digital strategy, have served as joint interim vice provosts for UW–Madison Libraries since Carter’s departure.

The search-and-screen committee charged with hiring UW–Madison’s new vice provost for University Libraries was chaired by Jordan Zweck, associate professor of English in College of Letters & Science.

As vice provost, Heyns will be responsible for developing and implementing strategic programs and initiatives to ensure that UW–Madison’s libraries are invaluable partners in the educational mission of the university and that they provide high-quality services and programs that catalyze teaching, learning, research and scholarship.

UW–Madison’s General Library System currently administers twelve libraries with Memorial Library as its flagship. The GLS provides policy leadership, technical infrastructure, support for collections and acquisitions and coordination of campus and some UW System library services. The GLS has approximately 210 full-time employees and its collections include more than 11 million volumes.