Nancy E. Gwinn
Director, Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Nancy E. Gwinn has been the director of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries since 1997. She is a recognized leader in international librarianship, the preservation of library collections, the application of library technologies and building collaborations and partnerships.
At the Smithsonian, Gwinn’s achievements include launching the Libraries’ exhibition program, creating the new Web site “Galaxy of Knowledge,” expanding the Libraries’ rare book and electronic collections and creating the first Libraries Advisory Board and the Spencer Baird Society to assist with an aggressive fundraising program. During her tenure, the Smithsonian Libraries initiated and became the lead partner in establishing the digital Biodiversity Heritage Library and creating the program’s secretariat. She represents the Smithsonian on the BHL Institutional Council.
Gwinn was a member of the governing board of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions from 2004 to 2009 and chair of its Professional Committee from 2007 to 2009. The American Library Association has appointed her as its representative on the board of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, a charitable nonprofit organization committed to the protection of cultural property worldwide during armed conflict.
In 2008, Gwinn was elected to the Research Libraries Group Partnership Council, which oversees the work of RLG Programs, a global partnership within the Online Computer Library Center of research libraries, archives, museums and other cultural memory institutions working to enhance their ability to support research in all its forms. She also serves on the RLG Committee of the OCLC board of trustees. She is a member of the board of trustees of Cottey College in Nevada, Mo.
Gwinn joined the Smithsonian in 1984 as the Libraries’ assistant director for collections management. Her career includes positions at the Library of Congress, the Council on Library Resources and the RLG.
A former Fulbright scholar at the University of Oxford in England, Gwinn holds a doctorate in American civilization from George Washington University, a master of arts in library science from the University of Michigan and a bachelor of arts from the University of Wyoming. She has been named a Distinguished Alumna of the University of Michigan School of Information, the University of Wyoming and Mortar Board. A frequent consultant and speaker, she has written on many library-related and historical subjects. Two of her publications were awarded the Waldo Gifford Leland prize of the Society of American Archivists and the American Library Association’s Blackwell North American Scholarship Award, respectively. Her most recent work has focused on aspects of the joint history of the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress.
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