Rachel Vacek

rvacek's picture


Hatcher Library North, Rm 402
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
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Head of Design & Discovery


As the Head of Design & Discovery (D&D) within the Library IT division, Rachel oversees a team of user experience and accessibility specialists, web designers, web and application developers, and project managers. 

Previously, Rachel was the 2014 President of the Library & Information Technology Association (LITA), a 2014 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, and a 2007 American Library Association (ALA) Emerging LeaderShe was also invited to participate on the Horizon Project Academic & Research Library Panel of Experts for 2016-2017, a group that selects the topics and informs the production of the New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition

Her research and professional interests include user experience, open source technologies, digital libraries, discovery technologies, service design, and organizational leadership. She's also an avid board gamer.


Rachel is originally from southwest Ohio and earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Dayton and her Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh.  

Rachel joined the U-M Library in August 2016. She has previously worked at the  University of Houston in Houston, TX, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, and Miami University in Oxford, OH.



  • Manages the Design & Discovery department
  • Collaborates with Library IT leadership to guide the strategic direction of the division
  • Provides management of the department’s operational portfolio that includes front-end web application development, universal and graphic design, content strategy, user research, and UX strategy
  • Provides leadership for programmatic initiatives within the Library IT division related to service models, cross-divisional workflows, training, assessment, library analytics, and discovery and delivery systems
  • Promotes the adoption of technology policies and standards around user interface design, accessibility, and content governance
  • Coordinates IT project and resource stewardship initiatives
  • Oversees library web services including the library web site, Intranet, in-house and vendor-based cross-platform search and discovery systems, library staff workflow and content tools