Queen’s University announced today the appointment of Mark Asberg as Vice-Provost and University Librarian for a five-year term effective May 1, 2021. This appointment follows a comprehensive search process chaired by Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green.
Dr. Asberg is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Calgary Public Library, where he leads a team of more than 700 employees in 21 locations across the city with an annual budget exceeding $60 million. During his tenure, he stewarded initiatives to make the library system more accessible and welcoming to new audiences, for instance bolstering the library’s digital presence, ramping up virtual programming, and becoming one of the first major library systems in Canada to eliminate fines. Dr. Asberg helped guide the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic response, resulting in a multi-tiered response of crisis communications, urgent-community supports, critical baseline service and staffing, and a robust plan for reopening across the city of Calgary. Dr. Asberg’s career within the Calgary Public Library system began in 2014 as Director, Service Delivery where his team grew membership and library usage numbers by improving the patron experience, enhancing library spaces, and increasing programming both in the library and out in the community. His leadership style has simultaneously resulted in higher staff engagement in consecutive years.
“Dr. Asberg brings not only a deep passion for research and collaboration, but also an infectious leadership style,” says Provost Green. “We are excited to have him join us at Queen’s to further the critical role our library system plays in the life of our students and the greater Kingston community.”
Building a greater level of equity and diversity and advancing Truth and Reconciliation were important objectives during Dr. Asberg’s time as CEO. Calgary Public Library is engaged in many strong collaborations with Treaty 7 Indigenous communities, including programming devoted to Indigenous Placemaking, languages, and cross-cultural understanding. One of those was a partnership with local Indigenous artist Glenna Cardinal to create a widely distributed library card to share a path forward from the historical exclusion of Indigenous communities from public library service. There was also heightened professional learning for the system’s employees, helping to build a stronger understanding of the histories, languages, and cultures of Indigenous communities and placing an importance on the individual and collective responsibilities each person shares going forward.
Prior to his time with Calgary Public Library, Dr. Asberg served as Manager, Knowledge Resource Service with Alberta Health Services, Manager, Information, Research, and Training Services for Alberta Law Libraries, and Crown Counsel Librarian for Alberta Court Libraries.
He spent multiple years in an academic setting, serving as a Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant and Conference Organizer at Western University, where he led classes focusing on information and digital literacy and research skills. His work at Alberta Health Services and Calgary Public Library has also involved close collaborations and partnership with the University of Calgary. Dr. Asberg volunteers as a board member for Alberta Law Libraries and chaired the Risk Management Committee for the Alberta Library.
“I’m honoured to be joining Queen’s University, a dynamic institution committed to research excellence and transformative student learning experiences,” Dr. Asberg says. “Queen’s University Library is integral to this dynamism, as it continuously advances its impactful work to inspire learning, spark creativity, and build community. Libraries are spaces, physical and virtual, where people ask critical questions and connect meaningfully with information, knowledge, and, most importantly, each other. I’m truly energized to be joining such an accomplished team so eager to shape positive futures together.”
Dr. Asberg holds his PhD (Theory and Criticism), Master of Library & Information Science, Master of Arts (Theory and Criticism) and Bachelor of Arts (French/Philosophy) from Western University.