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SLIS Welcomes Copyright Law Scholar-Educator as New Director

Posted Jan. 7, 2013

The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Kent State University welcomes Tomas A. Lipinski, J.D., LL.M., Ph.D., as its new director.

Lipinski takes over the reins of Ohio's only American Library Association-accredited master's degree program and one of the largest library and information science schools in the nation. He replaces Richard Rubin, Ph.D., who left in 2010 to become Kent State’s associate provost for extended education. SLIS Associate Professor Don A. Wicks, Ph.D., has served as interim director.

Tomas LipinskiLipinski most recently served as executive associate dean and professor at Indiana University School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He had previously been director of the Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) degree program and professor at the School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he also was co-director (and founder) of the Center for Information Policy Research (CIPR).  In 2007 and 2009 he received the WISE (Web-based Information Science Education) Faculty of the Year Award for Excellence in Online Education from the Association of Library and Information Science Education (ALISE). His library experience includes being a librarian at Milwaukee Public Library (1992-1994) and associate librarian/associate director at H. Douglas Barclay Law Library, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y. (1990-1992).

In his announcement of the appointment, Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D., dean of the College of Communication and Information, said, “Dr. Lipinski comes to us with an exceptional record as a scholar and as an administrator. His combination of expertise in library and information science and law will help the college reshape its curriculum in exciting ways. His prominence in the field will help to elevate the reputation of an already highly regarded school. We look forward to his service on the College of Communication and Information leadership team.”

Lipinski holds a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; a Master of Library and Information Science from the School of Library and Information Science, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; a Master of Laws (LL.M.) (taxation) from The John Marshall Law School, Chicago; a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee; and a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of  Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Issues related to copyright, information law and intellectual property form the core of Lipinski’s research interests, including ethics; digital archiving; Internet-based research data; freedom of inquiry; laws and policies affecting libraries, schools and other information settings including privacy and free speech; indigenous cultural rights; anonymous speech on the internet; ownership of information; distance education; and the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act of 2001. Lipinski is author or co-author of three books, 29 refereed articles, 17 book chapters, and more than 100 other publications, book reviews and presentations. A fourth book on licensing was published in 2012.

A leader in copyright education, Lipinski is a member of the American Library Association, Office of Information Technology Policy, Copyright Education Subcommittee, member at large, and is vice-chair/chair elect for 2013-2014. He also serves as chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Copyright Discussion Group (2012-2013) and as a member of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) Board, Task Force on The Future of JELIS (Journal of Education for Library and Information Science) and its possible release online. Lipinski annually gives numerous talks, presentations and seminars to librarians and educators, and most recently delivered the keynote address at the Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries Annual Conference in this past May. He has been a Global Law Fellow in the Faculty of Law at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law & ICT (ICRI) and the Centre for Intellectual Rights (CIR), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven), Belgium (2006), and was named to the Fulbright Senior Specialist Roster (2005-2010). He has testified at several United States Copyright Office public roundtables and field hearings and provided copyright-related legal services to libraries and schools.

“My research and teaching has been in the area of information law and policy, especially issues affecting public institutions of the cultural record such as libraries, archives and museums," Lipinski said. "I’d like to bring those perspectives to enhance the heft and programming of the school and the college. Of course, this is an exciting time for the school as it expands physically and intellectually, and a critical time for library schools -- and I am honored to be a part of it. Kent State SLIS is composed of a dedicated and energetic faculty, staff and student body of unlimited potential. Together, there is much we can achieve.”

The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Kent State University has the only American Library Association-accredited Master of Library and Information Science degree program in Ohio, offering courses in Kent, Columbus (State Library of Ohio) and through a fully online option. SLIS also offers a Master of Science in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management and participates in an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in the College of Communication and Information. The school is recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s top 20 LIS graduate programs, with a youth librarianship program that is ranked 13th. It is one of the largest library schools in the country, with more than 650 students enrolled.  For more information, visit www.kent.edu/slis.