James Roussain Named Kelly Library’s Chief Librarian, Director of Special Collections 

The University of St. Michael’s College is pleased to announce the appointment of James Roussain as the Dr. William D. Sharpe Chief Librarian and Director of Special Collections at the John M. Kelly Library, effective July 1, 2024. 

James Roussain as the Dr. Willian D. Sharpe Chief Librarian and Director of Special Collections
James Roussain

“I am delighted to formalize James’s role as Chief Librarian of the Kelly,” says President David Sylvester. “The appointment comes after an overwhelmingly positive external review by a panel of experts chaired by Kate MacDonald, Nicholls Librarian and Director of the John W. Graham Library & Trinity College Archives, Trinity College, University of Toronto. In his two years in the role of interim Chief Librarian, James has demonstrated impressive leadership, overseeing the consolidation of the Regis St. Michael’s theology collections, as well as developing a significant new congregational archives collection. He has also managed important renovations: including the addition to new archival and rare book space, the re-opening of the print studio and the creation of the new multi-purpose teaching and presentation space in collaboration with the Friends of the Kelly. His vision for integrating the Kelly resources more intentionally with academic programming in St. Michael’s College, the Regis St. Michael’s Faculty of Theology and Continuing Education is serving our students, faculty and the community in innovative new ways.” 

“It is an honour to be entrusted by USMC to move the Kelly forward in its mission of bringing people together in support of their intellectual pursuits,” says Roussain. “We have an incredible team of people at the library who are deeply committed to helping students succeed and I look forward to working with my colleagues on developing new and innovative programs attuned to the changing needs of both our patrons and of academic libraries more generally. Informed by an imminent external review of our operations, the Kelly will continue to prioritize the development of its circulating and special collections and its reputation as a welcoming space on campus for students and friends. I am bolstered by the incredible support received from across campus to centre the library within our students’ academic lives.” 

Roussain’s academic and professional career attests to his deeply respected position within the North American community of university librarians. A recent participant at the Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians, he earned his Bachelor of Arts, Master of Information, and Master of Education degrees at the University of Toronto. James’s research interests are many and reflect the multi-faceted nature of his role: they range from constructions of the professional identity within archives to the pedagogical methods that can increase information and archival literacy in students. He has taught across these areas of research expertise in the Book and Media Studies program at St Michael’s as well as in the graduate program at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information.   

Roussain first joined St. Michael’s in 2017 as the library’s first Outreach and Instruction Archivist, focused on engaging students with the library’s archival and rare book holdings. He was named Interim Head of Public Services in 2020 and then Head of Public Services in 2021, before being appointed Interim Chief Librarian in June 2022. Prior to joining the Kelly Library, Roussain had worked as a Corporate Records Archivist with Scotiabank where he engaged with units across the organization on the development and implementation of the records management program. An active volunteer within the Canadian archival community, he has spent the last ten-plus years serving various organizations, including as president of the Archives Association of Ontario  and of the Toronto Area Archivists’ Group, and as a board member with the Association of Canadian Archivists

“I am delighted to see James Roussain formalized as the Chief Librarian at USMC,” says Principal and Vice President Irene Morra. “His established expertise, his commitment to pedagogy and scholarship across disciplines, and his indefatigable, constructive dedication to building upon strengths speak to the importance of this appointment. He is, moreover, deeply respected as a colleague at St. Michael’s: engaged, enthusiastic, and always informed by an instinctive appreciation and collaborative respect for the work of his colleagues.” 

The John M. Kelly Library is the largest library of the federated colleges at the University of Toronto and the second largest of the more than 40 libraries at the University of Toronto. Its collections support students in all disciplines with a focus on those areas taught at St. Mike’s, including Catholic theology, European and Slavic language and literature, mediaeval studies, Irish and Celtic studies, book history, media studies, and philosophy. 

In addition to a circulating collection, the library also has a range of archival, manuscript, and rare books special collections, including the works of novelist Sheila Watson, writer G.K. Chesterton, and recently the archival records of the Sisters of Service and the Scarboro Foreign Mission Society.