University librarian named Association of Research Libraries president

Author: Tara O'Leary

K. Matthew Dames, the Edward H. Arnold University Librarian at the University of Notre Dame, launched his term as the 61st president of the Association of Research Libraries on Thursday (Oct. 7).

“It is an honor and a privilege to begin my term as ARL’s 61st president. I look forward to collaborating with all our key stakeholders and constituencies to increase the value we bring to our members. I also look forward to broadening the association’s commitment to diversify the profession and make it more equitable, especially during this critical juncture in our society,” said Dames in an ARL news release about his appointment.

Notre Dame has been a member of the Association of Research Libraries since 1962. ARL is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in Canada and the U.S. whose mission is to advance research, learning and scholarly communication. Dames will be the first member representative from Notre Dame to be president.

“The University of Notre Dame has long supported ARL and its efforts to elevate the integral role that research libraries play in advancing research, teaching and learning in higher education,” Marie Lynn Miranda, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost at Notre Dame, said. “Matthew Dames is a bold thought leader and global visionary, perfectly suited to leading ARL, and to leading Hesburgh Libraries.”

Dames is a nationally recognized scholar in copyright law and an experienced innovator in research libraries. Throughout his career, he has cultivated strong collaborations inside and outside of university environments, implementing innovative programs to enhance staff development and successfully securing resources to advance transformative library initiatives.

Dames’ holistic vision for leadership takes into account the scholarly communications landscape, which has become extraordinarily complex in the past three decades. He notes that the convergence of content and technology in this space means that institutional missteps may have irreversible consequences on future access to knowledge.

“As ARL president, part of my job is to help our members maintain a seat at the table when their institutions are making key decisions about the future of research, and to help ensure that research findings remain accessible in the future,” said Dames. “At its best, a strong research library system is uniquely positioned as a force for good within an information organization because we are at the center of the efforts to produce new knowledge and preserve it for decades to come.”

Dames joined the University of Notre Dame as the Edward H. Arnold University Librarian for the Hesburgh Libraries in August. As chief executive, he leads more than 175 library faculty and staff who advance teaching, learning and research at Notre Dame. The Hesburgh Libraries system features the flagship Hesburgh Library (which houses the Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship, the Medieval Institute Library, the University Archives and Rare Books and Special Collections) and four branch libraries (Architecture Library, Thomas J. Mahaffey Business Library, Music Library and the Visual Resources Center).

Dames earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baruch College of the City University of New York, as well as a master’s degree in information studies and a doctoral degree in information science and technology from Syracuse University. He earned his juris doctorate from Northeastern University. Dames continues to conduct research on copyright law, policy and history, emphasizing the culture and norms of the media industries, and is an attorney and member in good standing of the bar of Maryland.

Originally published by Tara O'Leary at on October 07, 2021.