Mary Lee Kennedy, executive director of knowledge and library services at Harvard Business School (HBS), has been named senior associate provost for the Harvard Library.

Kennedy’s appointment will provide oversight for the complex transition of Harvard’s highly decentralized libraries to a more closely coordinated management structure.

“This is truly a very exciting time for the library system at Harvard, and Mary Lee’s commitment and experience will be extremely valuable during the transition process and beyond,” said Provost Steven E. Hyman. “She will have a tremendous impact on the formation of the new Harvard Library.”

In her new role, Kennedy will report directly to the provost, with strategy and policy responsibility for the Harvard Library. She will oversee the work of the executive director of the new library system, and will work with other staff as needed to advance ongoing progress in areas such as external relations, finance, human resources, and information technology during the transition.

Kennedy, currently the HBS representative on the new Harvard Library Board, will continue to serve on the board in an ex-officio capacity. She also will coordinate closely with the leaders of the library transition team to develop implementation strategies and institute a shared services structure at the direction of the board.

“Harvard’s libraries are a treasure, and I am gratified that in my new position I will be able to play an expanded role in positioning them for 21st century excellence,” Kennedy said. “Together with the University’s dedicated library staff, the Library Board, and the Faculty Advisory Council, we will ensure that the libraries remain closely aligned with Harvard’s scholarly mission, even as they innovate to open frontiers for research libraries around the globe.”

Prior to joining HBS in 2004, Kennedy was the director of the Knowledge Network Group at the Microsoft Corp., where she oversaw an organization of 100 people focused on internal communications, global research support, and information management.

She has a bachelor of arts cum laude in social psychology from the University of Alberta, Canada, and a master’s in library science with honors from Louisiana State University. Her appointment takes effect July 18.

Where there’s smoke, there’s ire