November 26, 2019

WSU Press joins Library System

Photo courtesy of Michael G Smith

Earlier this fall, the Wayne State University Press joined the University Library System, changing its reporting from the Provost’s Office to the Dean’s Office of University Libraries.

“We have an outstanding university press,” said Wayne State University Provost Keith Whitfield. “This administrative change will support and strengthen the Wayne State University Press well into the future.”

Founded in 1941, the press is Michigan’s only urban university press and is a leading publisher of books about Detroit, the state of Michigan and the Great Lakes region, as well as important work in Jewish studies, film and media studies, African American history and culture; and folklore and fairy tale studies. The press publishes 35 to 40 new books and 11 journals annually in print and digital formats and distributes titles for several partner presses. As has occurred with other long-running and distinguished university presses, the host university, Wayne State, recently considered a new path of support for the press, believing the reporting change will help create a sustainable business model that leads to future successes.

“The libraries appreciate the vital role that the press plays in the creation, promotion and sharing of scholarship,” said Jon Cawthorne, dean of the University Library System. “This administrative reporting structure will only enhance and invigorate the high-quality scholarly works that will come from the press for years to come.”

The press and the libraries collaborated on initiatives prior to the reporting change, including a project that was jointly supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities that allowed the WSU Press to digitize a selection of backlist titles for open access distribution at WayneOpen ( The press and the libraries also created shared internships and partnered on the digitization and digital distribution of the press’s subscription-based journals through DigitalCommons@WayneState (

“I look forward to building on these successful collaborations between the press and the library system and being part of the senior leadership team of the library. Our sharing of expertise and interests will strengthen and support both entities,” said Interim WSU Press Director Tara Reeser. “While the press will still act as an auxiliary unit, we support the core research, teaching and service mission of WSU every day by disseminating scholarship; advancing education; and serving the state, local, and university communities.”

In recent years, Wayne State University Press’s regional books have won numerous spots on the Library of Michigan’s annual list of Michigan Notable Books. Its highly regarded Made in Michigan Writers Series includes many award-winning titles, among them a National Book Award finalist in fiction, and is supported by a $1 million grant from the Meijer Foundation. In 2017, as an important contribution to the city’s commemoration of the 1967 rebellion, the press published its award-winning Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies, a collaborative project with the Detroit Historical Society, and last year, to celebrate Wayne State’s 150th anniversary, the press released a new edition of The History of Wayne State University in Photographs. More recently, the press published The Queen Next Door: Aretha Franklin, An Intimate Portrait, authored by award-winning photojournalist Linda Solomon, celebrating Aretha Franklin’s legacy through a collection of intimate photographs and memories.    

The Wayne State University Library System consists of the university's five libraries: The David Adamany Undergraduate Library, the Purdy/Kresge Library, the Shiffman Medical Library, the Arthur Neef Law Library and the Reuther Library as well as the School of Information Sciences and the Wayne State University Press.

Wayne State University is a premier institution offering nearly 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 27,000 students.


Jill Wurm
Phone: (313) 577-4149

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