Ginny Steel, the Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian, has been elected chair of the steering committee heading the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), an organization primarily made up of more than 200 academic and research libraries in the U.S. and Canada that are committed to working for open access, open education and open data.

 Steel has served as member of the committee, which provides strategic advice and guidance to the SPARC staff, since 2015.

Steel brings a unique perspective to the position, informed by working with libraries ranging from MIT and Washington State University to UC Santa Cruz and now UCLA. She has a history of strong leadership and service to the field, including as president of the Library Administration and Management Association, vice president of the OCLC Global Council, and a board member for the Greater Western Library Alliance and Center for Research Libraries.

Well versed in the complex national policy landscape, Steel currently serves as the chair of the Advocacy and Public Policy Committee of the Association of Research Libraries. She has been an active supporter of national and state public access policies and has been a vocal advocate for the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act and the White House Directive on Public Access to Publicly Funded Research as well as the California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act.

At UCLA Steel launched a comprehensive, inclusive strategic planning process for the UCLA Library that is redefining the research library for the 21st century. Other campuswide involvements include participating in planning for research data management and serving on the Classroom Advisory Committee. In addition, she has spoken out on issues of open access, open education resources, and revisions to U.S. copyright law.

“Ginny Steel is a committed advocate with an invaluable depth of knowledge and commitment to action,” said Heather Joseph, SPARC’s executive director. “Her leadership experience across a broad range of library organizations and her commitment to deepening the impact of research and education through expanding access will help keep SPARC vital in the coming years. The steering committee, SPARC team, and I look forward to having Ginny’s leadership to help us address the challenges and opportunities before us.”

”With information disappearing from public sight every day intentionally or otherwise, SPARC’s unwavering commitment to open access, open data and open education is invaluable,” said Steel. “I look forward to working with its dedicated staff and hundreds of member institutions to further the adoption of policies and practices that enable people to solve pressing global problems and to improve the lives of individuals and the well-being of society.”