Melissa Gasparotto joins UChicago as Deputy University Librarian

Melissa Gasparotto will join the University of Chicago Library as Deputy University Librarian on July 22. In this newly created role, Gasparotto will work closely with Dean Torsten Reimer on implementing the Library’s new strategy, acting as his deputy on strategic initiatives. In addition, she will provide direct leadership for the Library's service portfolios in collections and research services. This portfolio includes the teams for Access Services, East Asian Collection, Humanities & Area Studies, Preservation, Sciences and Social Science, Special Collections, Teaching and Academic Engagement, and Technical Services. Reporting to Reimer, Gasparotto will join the Library's Strategic Leadership Board and other leadership groups.

Photo of Melissa Gasparatto
Melissa Gasparotto

Currently, Gasparotto is Associate Vice Provost for Operations, Access Services and Strategic Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. In this role, she oversees a full-time staff of 90, as well as 80 student workers in the areas of access services and resource sharing, technical services, offsite storage and facilities. Gasparotto leads the Libraries’ capital planning process, including a $7 million expansion of the LIBRA offsite storage facility and multiple feasibility studies and renovation projects throughout the system. Within the senior leadership team, Gasparotto is also responsible for library-wide cultural transformation efforts to create a positive staff experience.

“In a competitive field, Gasparotto stood out to me with her broad library expertise, forward-looking approach, strategic thinking and focus on creating inclusive teams,” Reimer said. “She brings a wealth of experience from peer organizations and a commitment to our values and strategic goals.”

Before joining Penn, Gasparotto was first Assistant and then Associate Director, Research Services and Institutional Partnerships at the New York Public Library and a Visiting Assistant Professor at the School of Information at the Pratt Institute. Previously, she was at Rutgers University, first as Area Studies Librarian for Latin American Studies and then as Head of the Learning and Engagement Department. In earlier stages of her career, she held roles as reference and assistant librarian at Hunter College Library and New York University Libraries.

Gasparotto has published and presented at conferences on topics ranging from the future of print reference collections to natural language processing and tackling racism and bias in the library catalog. She is also active on boards and committees including as Co-Convenor on committees on coordinated collecting and access for ReCap (Research Collections and Preservation Consortium) and as chair of working groups for the Partnership for Shared Book Collections. Gasparotto holds a BA in Spanish and Latin American Literatures and Cultures and an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University, as well as an MLIS from Long Island University. She is in the last year of a PhD in Communication, Information and Media at Rutgers University.