Chris Cronin and Barbara Rockenbach Named as New Associate University Librarians

Vice Provost and University Librarian Ann Thornton announced today her appointment of Chris Cronin as the Associate University Librarian for Collections and Barbara Rockenbach as the Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning.

“Both Chris and Barbara bring a depth of experience and an impressive track record as innovators and library leaders, and I am incredibly excited to have them on our team,” said Thornton.

Cronin, who will join Columbia on September 5, will provide leadership for collections strategy, overseeing the acquisition and management of scholarly resources distinguished by scope, quality, and scale for supporting research, teaching, and the intellectual curiosity of Columbia's faculty and students. 

Chris Chris Cronin

Cronin has held several leadership positions in research libraries, first at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and then as the Director of Metadata & Cataloging Services at the University of Chicago, where he currently serves as the Director of Technical Services. Cronin oversees the acquisitions and metadata management operations that support collection development for library resources in both print and digital forms. He is active in a number of national and international associations, and has published and presented widely on a variety of topics, including administration, cataloging, digital collections metadata, and standards development.  His work at the University of Chicago will be particularly useful at Columbia, as the two institutions are close partners on a number of collections initiatives within the Ivy Plus.  Cronin earned his Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English at the University of British Columbia, and a Master of Information Studies from the University of Toronto.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be joining Columbia University Libraries,” Cronin said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to help lead collection development and management with such respected, dedicated, and enthusiastic colleagues at one of the world’s most renowned research institutions.  I very much look forward to collaborating with Columbia’s faculty, staff, and students to build library collections and services that will support scholarship and inspire innovation across all of Columbia’s many research and learning communities.”

Rockenbach, who begins her new role on July 1, will provide leadership in facilitating and supporting the products and processes of scholarship, embracing an expansive agenda for the Libraries as vital collaborators in Columbia's research and learning ecosystem.

296 Barbara Rockenbach

Rockenbach has a held a series of user-focused positions in the Yale University Libraries, JSTOR, and the Columbia University Libraries. The focus of her work has been on the intersection of collections, technology, and pedagogy including advancing research and learning through visual literacy, research education, and digital humanities. She has published and presented extensively in these areas and serves as a board member of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, a position that amplifies her commitment to public scholarship. At Columbia, Rockenbach has worked closely with faculty and students in the humanities as the Director of the History and Humanities Libraries, and has also had interim leadership roles in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library and as the Associate University Librarian for Collections & Services. Rockenbach holds an M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.A. in Art History from Hunter College, and a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois.

"I am thrilled by the opportunity to support the advancement of research and learning at Columbia University in partnership with Columbia's faculty, students, the Center for Teaching & Learning, and the exceptional staff of the Columbia University Libraries,” said Rockenbach.

Reporting to Ann Thornton, both positions are members of the Libraries' Executive Committee and will work in close collaboration with the Associate Vice President for Technology and Preservation and the Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration as key participants in overall Libraries budgetary, assessment, and strategic planning. The AULs will work closely with the Libraries' Leadership Council and the Provost's Advisory Committee on the Libraries to set priorities for the organization.

“Chris and Barbara have in their previous roles demonstrated an ability to bring people together around change,” Thornton said. “At Columbia, they’ll be utilizing those skills to lead and empower a team of highly talented staff in support of our new Strategic Directions.”

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year.  The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: