Guiding a New Hub of Learning and Information

Construction on the fourth and fifth floors of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library finished in November 1978. Now, several decades later, the University of Montana library is at the heart of exciting new plans and leadership.

Following a nationwide search, the University of Montana announced Sha Li Zhang was selected to join the faculty as the new Dean of Libraries. Hailing from China, Dean Zhang comes to UM from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she served as assistant dean for collections and technical services for the last seven years.

Now Dean Zhang will help steward a new era of the library with the proposed Learning Commons, a modernized space in the library focused on providing dynamic learning tools, using the latest technology and becoming the academic heart of campus.

“Updating our existing space to accommodate students as they learn and grow in their university experience is very exciting,” says Zhang. “Thinking about how students thrive, then creating a place with access to technology, group working areas, tutoring and multipurpose environments is what makes a library great. I am pleased to be on board for this development of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library.”

Dean Zhang’s experience includes being published widely and presenting at regional, national and international conferences, in addition to active participation in both national and international library associations. She is the project director for the Academic and Cultural Enrichment (ACE) Scholars Program that focuses on recruiting and preparing librarians from underserved communities.

Dean Zhang received her doctoral degree in education from Kansas State University, a master’s degree in library science from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in literature and linguistics from Lanzhou University in China.