K. Matthew Dames, a nationally recognized scholar in copyright law and an experienced innovator in research libraries, joined the University of Notre Dame as the Edward H. Arnold Dean for the Hesburgh Libraries in August 2021. Soon after, Dames added the University of Notre Dame Press to his leadership portfolio.
As chief executive of the Hesburgh Libraries, Dr. Dames leads more than 175 library faculty and staff who advance teaching, learning, and research at Notre Dame. The library system features the flagship Hesburgh Library (which houses the Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship, the Medieval Institute Library, the University Archives, Rare Books and Special Collections, and the Visual Resources Center) and three branch libraries (Architecture Library, Business Library, and Music Library).
Established in 1949, the University of Notre Dame Press is the largest Catholic university press in the world and primarily publishes in areas that align with the academic strengths of the University, including religion, theology, history, philosophy, political science and theory, medieval studies, Irish studies, Latin American studies, and international relations.
Throughout his career, Dames has cultivated strong collaborations inside and outside of university environments, implementing innovative programs to enhance staff development and successfully securing resources to advance transformative library initiatives.
Previously, Dames served as the university librarian for Boston University Libraries where he was integral to BU’s strategic planning process, chairing a committee charged with developing the library system’s 2030 priorities. While at BU, Dames developed and sponsored the In House Leadership Development Program which was the first award for executive talent development in academic libraries from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Before joining Boston University, Dames was an associate librarian for scholarly resources and services at Georgetown University where he led a division that included special collections, principal collections, branch libraries, and the copyright and scholarly communications office, and played an integral role in advancing Georgetown’s slavery, memory, and reconciliation efforts. He also served as interim dean of libraries and university librarian for Syracuse University. Dames began his academic library career as founding director of Syracuse University’s Copyright and Information Policy Office, one of the nation’s first full-time university copyright offices. Syracuse’s copyright policy, which he authored, has been copied in full or in part by more than 20 other U.S. universities.
Dames is a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and became its 61st president in October 2021. He chairs the ARL Task Force on Structural Equity and Inclusion, hosted and helped produce the 2021 ARL Fall Forum, and has served on the ARL Board’s Governance Committee. He has served as a career coach for the ARL Leadership and Career Development Program and was an ARL Leadership Fellow in 2018. He also served on the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee for NorthEast Research Libraries (2018-2021) and as a past board member of Reveal Digital in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Dames earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baruch College of the City University of New York, as well as a master’s degree in information studies and a doctoral degree in information science and technology from Syracuse University. He earned his Juris Doctor from Northeastern University. Dr. Dames continues to conduct research on copyright law, policy, and history, emphasizing culture and norms of the media industries, and is an attorney and member in good standing of the Bar of Maryland.