On the eve of his retirement from IUPUI, University Library Dean David Lewis has been recognized with one of the highest distinctions in the state of Indiana, the Sagamore of the Wabash. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the governor of Indiana and is a personal tribute given to those who have rendered distinguished service to the state. On behalf of Gov. Eric Holcomb, Indiana State Archivist Jim Corridan conferred the honor on Lewis for his service to libraries across the state over the last 25 years.
Lewis began his career at the IUPUI University Library in 1993, the opening year of the landmark building designed by renowned architect Edward Larrabee Barnes. In 2000, Lewis was appointed dean. After 18 years at the helm of the library, Lewis will retire in May. His career as an academic library leader for more than four decades has been characterized by a record of noteworthy accomplishments in the areas of academic technologies, digital humanities, open access to scholarly and educational resources, library integration into campus and community life, and innovative service development.
“David Lewis’ record of service to the IUPUI community is remarkable and will live on long after his well-deserved retirement,” IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar said. “His Sagamore of the Wabash distinction is well-earned and confirms the measures of success that we have known for many years.”
For more than two decades, Lewis has been a champion of creating access to information for Hoosiers through digital library resources.
He helped create the Marion County Internet Library, a collection of full-text research databases that can be accessed from within any public library, any K-12 school, or any college or university library in Marion County. He served on the Indiana State Library Advisory Council for seven years, leading the group from 2008 to 2012 and helping to advance strategic initiatives such as the Indiana Digital Summit, which provided guidance to the State Library regarding the development of digital content about the history and culture of Indiana. He also contributed to the early planning and continued growth of INSPIRE, Indiana’s virtual online library. INSPIRE is provided by the Indiana State Library and supported through the Build Indiana Fund and the Washington-based Institute for Museum and Library Services, in partnership with Academic Libraries of Indiana, a group Lewis presided over from 2013 to 2015.
As part of his work with ALI, Lewis oversaw a large-scale project in 2012-13 that had a significant impact across the Indiana academic library community. The Indiana Shared Print Project was, at the time, the largest collection-analysis project of its kind. Due to its scope and impact, the project received a $225,000 grant from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment. It included 36 Indiana colleges and universities and allowed for the data-driven withdrawal of thousands of volumes from the participating libraries, which in turn freed up library space to meet other user needs. It also laid the groundwork for collaborative Indiana collections development going forward and identified unique print items within the collections of participating libraries for preservation and potential digitization.
Lewis has translated his extensive experience into thought leadership for academic librarianship. His record of publications, presentations, and professional service is diverse and extensive, ranging across the future of library collections, library space, the library and open access, scholarly communication, and provocative thinking about the future of the academic library. This work culminated in 2016 with the publication of his widely acclaimed book, “Reimagining the Academic Library.”
“I have had so many great colleagues in the Indiana library community, and much of the credit goes to them,” Lewis said. “The Sagamore of the Wabash is an unexpected honor.”
In recognition of his thought leadership, Lewis was named the 2018 Association of College and Research Libraries’ Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. The award showcases his long career of accomplishments and recognizes significant and influential research and the publication of a body of scholarly writing that contributes to academic or research library development.