Athena N. Jackson (’97), dean of University of Houston Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair, has been named Norman and Armena Powell university librarian (UL) at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Library, effective March 1. In her new role, Jackson will serve as chief executive officer of the UCLA library system, providing strategic vision for and operational leadership of the libraries, comprising the Charles E. Young Research Library; Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library; Powell Library; Southern Regional Library Facility; six special libraries; a data science center; and the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
Jackson’s appointment as UL marks a return to UCLA, where she served as director of library special collections before departing in 2021 to become UH Libraries’ dean. During her time in Houston, Jackson led administrative direction and policy development of the Libraries with an annual budget of $21 million, while providing support and guidance to over 125 librarians and staff. Her priorities included programmatic and development leadership, as well as strengthening access and inclusion for all Libraries users through collaboration with faculty, scholars, staff, students, donors, and the Houston community.
Building upon her rich background in rare and archival collections, Jackson has been active in open scholarship dialogues at state and national levels, representing UH Libraries with key member organizations and external constituencies including Association of Research Libraries, Greater Western Library Alliance, HathiTrust, Council on Library and Information Resources, Digital Library Federation, and Texas Digital Library.