Effective July 1, 2020, the University of Tennessee Press joins the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus as a division of the UT Libraries. The move follows a national trend of university presses and research libraries joining forces to advance their complementary missions.
“We have an exceptional library and an excellent university press,” said Holly Mercer, acting dean of libraries. “Bringing together all that expertise will strengthen both organizations and usher in a new era of collaboration.”
UT Press is the state’s book publisher. The press was established in 1940 by the UT trustees with a mandate to stimulate scholarly research, to publish worthy projects about the South, and to share these studies with a large readership. As a university press, it produces original scholarship and provides the academic community, as well as the general reading public, with unique and important works that would not necessarily be printed by commercial publishers.
UT Press has earned a national reputation for scholarly publications in African American studies, Southern history, Appalachian studies, and literary studies, as well as many regional books written for general readers. Several outstanding series have further strengthened the press, including the presidential papers of Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, and James K. Polk.
“Scholarly publishing is changing. The libraries and press have partnered on numerous scholarly publishing ventures in the past. We look forward to working with library staff to develop new ways of broadening the audience for the press’s distinctive catalog of nationally important titles,” said Scot Danforth, director of the UT Press.
In recent years, the presidential papers have been a subject of collaboration between the libraries and the press. The UT Libraries’ online imprint, Newfound Press, publishes open-access versions of UT Press editions of the Andrew Jackson and James K. Polk papers, as well as other notable out-of-print titles, such as Richard Beale Davis’s three-volume Intellectual Life in the Colonial South, winner of a 1978 National Book Award. In addition, UT Press offers print-on-demand paperback copies of other, born-digital Newfound Press titles.
UT Press staff will eventually relocate to the John C. Hodges Library, creating cost efficiencies through shared infrastructure and operations. The combined expertise of press and library staff in licensing, copyright, metadata creation, editing, design, and marketing will be beneficial to both operations.
Both UT Press and the UT Libraries serve the state and the public good by creating, promoting, and sharing scholarship, as well as preserving knowledge about Tennessee and the region.