Announcement of new dean of York University Libraries

Scott Library

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Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to inform the York community that, following a national and international search and consultation process with staff, faculty and students from across the University, Joseph Hafner has accepted our invitation to become dean, York University Libraries, commencing July 1, 2024. On April 30, the Board of Governors concurred with this recommendation and approved his appointment for a five-year term.

Joseph Hafner
Joseph Hafner (photo credit: Owen Egan and Joni Dufour).

Mr. Hafner comes to York University from McGill University Library, where he has served since 2007 as associate director and then associate dean, collection services.

He joined McGill in 2004 and was awarded full librarian status in 2020. Prior to his tenure at McGill, Mr. Hafner began his career in public librarianship in Indiana, in the United States, where he worked in cataloguing, liaison, partnership development, leadership training and database management.

Holding an master of library and information science from Indiana University, Mr. Hafner is extremely active in his profession. An engaged participant in library associations, he is currently a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), where he is Chair of the Linked Data Technical Review Group and a member of the Advisory Committee on Standards, and has previously served as member and Chair of other committees, including the Linked Data Technical Sub-Committee, the Acquisition & Collection Development Committee and the LGBTQ Special Interest Group.

He served as the vice-president of the International Association of Music Libraries and is a member of the Canadian Association of Music Libraries, the American Library Association, Canadian Shared Print, HathiTrust and other professional associations. As an active scholar, Mr. Hafner has also served as editor of numerous publications, including series, journal issues and newsletters, as well as an editorial board member and author of conference proceedings and scholarly articles in important print and electronic journals and publications in academic librarianship.

At McGill, Mr. Hafner has been central to multiple transformational projects, including the construction of a new $33-million, off-site robotic storage facility, involving the absorption of 2.5 million books and journals – a process highlighted in a short video. He brings to York extensive experience in budget management and process improvement, along with knowledge of frontline library services and current issues facing libraries, including open access and the use of artificial intelligence.

To complete research commitments, Mr. Hafner will take a leave of absence for the first six weeks of his term, during which time Andrea Kosavic will continue in the position of interim dean. I am deeply grateful to Ms. Kosavic, who has ably served the role of interim dean for the Libraries since July 2023 and made very important contributions during a time of substantial change.

I look forward to working with Mr. Hafner as he brings his insight and expertise to this important role. I hope that all members of the York University community will join me in congratulating and welcoming him as a core member of the University’s academic leadership team.

I would like to thank the members of the search committee for their contributions to this important process.


Rhonda Lenton
President & Vice-Chancellor