Deborah Ward


Deb Ward

Vice Provost for Libraries and University Librarian

  • MSLS, University of Kentucky
  • M.A., Education, Eastern Kentucky University
  • B.A., German, Eastern Kentucky University


About Me

Deborah Ward, the interim vice provost for Libraries and University Librarian since 2019, was appointed to the permanent position, effective May 1, 2022. For nearly twenty-five years, Ward served Mizzou in a variety of roles: Director of the J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library and Veterinary Medical Library (1997-2021), Interim Associate Director for Research and Information Services (2009-2013), Associate University Librarian for Specialized Libraries (2017-2019), and Interim Vice Provost for Libraries and Interim University Librarian (2019-Present). During her time as Interim Vice Provost for Libraries, Ward supported students and faculty during the campus closure for COVID-19; built on her vision to integrate the e-learning experience of students with e-resources from the Libraries; participated actively in the campus space reduction initiative; and found ways to bring the teaching collection of the School of Visual Studies into various spaces in Ellis Library. Most recently, she led a team effort to secure a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which will fund the renovation of the Ellis Library West Stacks. She regularly works with faculty groups, students, and campus administrators to align library spaces, collections, and services with their stated priorities. Prior to being named interim vice provost, Ward served as the Director of the Health Sciences Library, where she promoted the adoption of electronic information delivery to the hospitals and clinics, clinical librarian services, and the integration of evidence-based information into health care delivery. She was key to the development of a digital library to support rural healthcare providers in Missouri, and she created a new health research librarian position for the HSL. Ward also promoted strong outreach in the state through the HSL’s participation as a Library Partner in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.


  • 2010-12 Lead, Literature in Medicine Initiative. University of Missouri Health Care, with funding from the Missouri Humanities.
  • 2019 SISLT Consumer Health for Communities co-investigator/grant project team.
  • 2022 PI: $500K National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant.

Recent Publications and Presentations


  • Sievert ME, Burhans, D, Ward D, Jones, BB, et al. “Value of Health Sciences Library Resources and Services to Health Care Providers in Medium and Large Communities across two Mid-continental States.” Journal of Hospital Librarianship, April, 2011.
  • Ward D, Meadows S, Nashelsky J. The role of expert searching in the Family Physicians Inquiries Network (FPIN). JMLA. Jan 2005;93(1):88-96.
  • Ward D, Mullaly-Quijas P, Woelfl NN. Using focus groups to discover health professionals’ information needs: a regional marketing study. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association. July 1994;82(3):305-11.
  • Ward D, Halsted D, Neeley D. The evolving role of the clinical medical librarian. Bulletin of Medical Library Association. July 1989;77(3):299-301.


  • 2008 Invited Panelist. Multidisciplinary Views of Library Outreach. Midcontinental Chapter, Medical Library Association. Cody, WY.
  • 2008 Poster: Creating a Framework for Collaborative Regional Library Research. DH Ward, ME Sievert, B Jones. Midcontinental Chapter, Medical Library Association. Cody, WY.
  • 2009 Invited panelist: ACRL Road Show on Scholarly Communication. Family Physician Inquiries Network: A Model for Authorship and Support through Collaboration. Sponsor: Association of College & Research Libraries. St. Louis.
  • 2009 Presented paper: Use of Library Services by Staff of Three Departments at UMHC. DH Ward, ME Sievert, D Burhans, D Johnson, S Meadows, C Scoville. Midcontinental Chapter, Medical Library Association. Breckenridge, CO.
  • 2009 Poster: A Collaborative State-Wide Approach to Addressing Health Literacy. S Centner, D. Ward, Arthur Culbert. First Annual National Health Literacy Research Conference, Washington, DC, November, 2009.
  • 2010-11 Poster: Views of the Library: A Regional Study in Selected Missouri and Colorado Libraries, Midcontinental Chapter, MLA, Wichita, KS, 2010 and Medical Library Association, Milwaukee, May 2011. (Award-winner)

Professional Associations

Co-creator, Missouri AHEC Digital Library

Missouri Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine

American Library Association

Missouri Library Association

Medical Library Association

Previous Experience

1972-1973 Graduate Assistant, Library Science, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond

1973-1977 Public School Librarian/Language Arts Teacher, various rural schools in KY

Morehead State University, Morehead, KY

1977-1978 Library Technician, Health Information Library Program, University of Kentucky

Medical Center Library Field Office

1978-1981 Coordinator, Eastern Kentucky Health Science Information Network

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock TX

1982-1984 Extension Librarian (Outreach)

1984-1986 Information Services Librarian (Head of Reference)

1986-1987 Associate Director, Information Services

1987-1991 Senior Associate Director (oversight for all four libraries in the system)

1990-1991 Interim Director of Libraries at Lubbock, Amarillo, El Paso and Odessa

University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE

1991-1994 Associate Director for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Midcontinental Region, McGoogan Library of Medicine

1994-1997 Associate Director, Medical Center Library. Adjunct Instructor, Department of Library Science for course: Health Sciences Libraries

1995-1996 IAIMS Project Coordinator for the Medical Center

University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

1997-2021 Director, J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library and Veterinary Medical Library

2009-2013 Interim Associate Director for Research and Information Services

2017-2019 Associate University Librarian for Specialized Libraries

2019-Present Interim Vice Provost for Libraries and Interim University Librarian

Subject Specialty

Areas of Expertise

In The News