Interior of the UTM library

UTM's Chief Librarian: Celebration and Transition

Alexandra Gillespie

Dear colleagues,

We’re pleased to announce that Paula Hannaford has accepted the position as UTM’s Interim Chief Librarian for a one-year term, from March 1, 2023 to February 28, 2024.

Paula steps in for Shelley Hawrychuk who will begin a well-deserved, ten-month leave today to return to her independent research and professional projects. This leave marks the start of a gradual transition in leadership: Shelley has indicated that she will not renew her appointment as UTM’s Chief Librarian—and that she will step down from her position officially at her leave’s end, at the end of this calendar year.

We look forward to celebrating Shelley’s work in due time. But we can start to say thanks now.

Shelley has supported this UTM community as a leader at our Library for almost thirty years, including as Chief Librarian for the past six-and-a-half. She has worked alongside UTML’s team to introduce one of Canada’s first academic models for library liaison service, which has created connections between librarians and faculty and strengthened student learning; to lead the development of UTM’s special collections, including acquisitions of the Waez Abualy Alibhai Collection of rare Ismaili manuscripts, the papers of the United Fruit Company and the Syd Bolton Gaming Collection; and to elevate UTML as a hub for student support and research discovery, which hums to the tune of over 1.5M visits a year.

Thank you, Shelley. And thank you, Paula.

Paula brings to this interim role more than twenty-five years of UTM library experience, including her work on UTML’s executive team as Deputy Chief Librarian and Associate Librarian, Library and Learning Services. She is a thoughtful collaborator, a keen strategist and a great champion for teaching, research and lifelong learning who, among many accomplishments, has led innovative curriculum development in UTML’s student engagement and transition program for the past two decades. We feel fortunate to work closely with her as U of T continues to reinvent world-class libraries for the twenty-first century.

Stay tuned in the months ahead as we organize a comprehensive search for UTM’s new continuing Chief Librarian. Until then, thanks for all you do for UTM and U of T.


Alex and Larry

Alexandra Gillespie
Vice-President and Principal
University of Toronto Mississauga
Larry Alford
University Chief Librarian

University of Toronto Libraries