Sandra Parham, a national library services veteran and director of library services at California State University, Dominguez Hills, has been named director of library services at Lipscomb University.
As director of library services, Parham will oversee the management and operation of the university’s Beaman Library. She will lead strategic planning and fundraising initiatives in addition to enhancing and expanding library holdings, special collections and programming among other activities. She succeeds Carolyn Wilson, who retired this spring after serving for 34 years in Lipscomb’s library program.
“She is a seasoned and successful educator and administrator who is dedicated to the advancement of the effective use of the library and associated technology components which enhance the student, instructional, research and administrative missions of the university,” said Randy Bouldin, associate provost for academic development and graduate studies.
Parham, a Nashville native, is passionate about the potential libraries have to enhance the educational experience.
“Libraries are partners with faculty in a student’s education.,” said Parham, who begins her appointment on July 1. “With the age of technology in which we live, it’s not just what lies within the four walls of a library that impacts these students. Libraries open the world to students.
“Libraries are places of collaboration and the sharing of ideas. It’s a place of culture and art. It’s a place of community. I am anxious to be at a faith-based institution like Lipscomb. From the moment I first set foot on campus I could feel the difference here. I could see a difference in the faculty, students and administration.”
Parham comes to Lipscomb after having spent the last 15 years as dean of the library at California State University, Dominquez Hills, a university of nearly 15,000 students located near Los Angeles. There she spearheaded the institution’s $50 million building project that doubled the size of the university library, including more than 140 new computers and “smart” classrooms with cutting-edge technology.
In addition to leading the daily operations and strategy of that library, Parham also added a multicultural art gallery and an events gallery—two of the many “extra” learning opportunities that libraries can offer. While there, she also successfully lobbied for a $63 million Public Education Facilities Bond, $50 million of which was used for the university’s library expansion, and raised millions of additional dollars through campaigns and grant opportunities.
She began her career as a children’s librarian in 1977 at the Detroit Public Library. In 1979, Parham returned home to Nashville to serve as a reference librarian at Tennessee State University. She was soon appointed business, science and technology librarian for the Houston (Texas) Public Library System, serving one of the largest areas in the country and comprised of 44 units including 31 neighborhood libraries.
From 1984-1998, Parham was archivist and coordinator of special collections at Texas Southern University. She oversaw the institution’s Barbara Jordan Archives, the traditional African art gallery, the Heartman Collection of African-American Life and Culture, the jazz archives and the university archives. In addition, she served as interim library dean from 1998-1999.
Her passion next led her to California to take on the challenge of the acting dean of the California State University, Dominguez Hills, library, a position she held for two years and during which time she successfully led the library through the Western Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools reaccreditation process. She was named permanent dean in 2001.
A graduate of Fisk University, Parham said her love for libraries began when she was an English major at the institution where she spent many hours in the John Hope and Aurelia E. Franklin Library studying, reading and realizing that a library can be a vital part of a community.
Parham also has a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Michigan, where she also became a certified medical librarian. In addition to her work in library services, Parham also launched a nonprofit homeless ministry organization that regularly serves more than 400 homeless in downtown Los Angeles.