Director’s Message: Looking Forward

This piece was written by Nancy E. Gwinn, Director, Smithsonian Libraries, for our summer 2015 printed newsletter magazine. To obtain a copy of our printed newsletter, email  The Smithsonian Libraries has an updated look, as you may have noticed.  Recently, we simplified our name, dropping the word “Institution” for simplicity’s sake and because people always say “institute” instead.  So we are now Smithsonian Libraries. And we’ve rolled out our new brand, more »

Science Executive Committee in Panama

On March 22-29, I traveled to Panama and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) with members of the Smithsonian’s Science Executive Committee. This is the science unit directors group who meet with the interim Undersecretary for Science each month. Others on the trip were Scott Miller, the Office of the Undersecretary for Science (OUSS) staff, Cynthia Brandt Stover, Smithsonian Campaign Director and Jenny McWilliams, Science Advancement Officer. Oh yes, and Stacy Cavanaugh’s more »

In Memoriam of Russell Train

It is with great sadness that I tell you of the death of Russell Train, one of the Libraries’ major benefactors. Russell was a close friend of Joseph F. Cullman 3rd and it was Joe’s suggestion that brought Russell to us and ultimately resulted in his donation of the Russell E. Train Africana Collection, which resides in the Cullman Library. The donation was singular since it came with a full inventory of the collection, which he developed, including evaluations of individual items.

In Memoriam of Russell Shank

I was saddened to learn that Russell Shank, 86, appointed by Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley as the first director of the Smithsonian Libraries, died June 26 of complications from a fall.  The 1978–1979 president of the American Library Association, he had been attending its 2012 Annual Conference in Anaheim at the time of his death, and was among the library leaders acknowledged at the June 21 Library Champions and Past Presidents Reception.

White House Honors IMLS Awardees

There is probably no better place to be during the holidays than the White House. I was privileged to attend the ceremony for the 2010 Winners of the IMLS (Institute for Museum and Library Services) National Medal. First Lady Michelle Obama elegantly presented each award in the East Room.

National Digital Stewardship Alliance Meets December 15-16, 2010

I was privileged recently to represent the Smithsonian Institution at an organizational meeting of the new National Digital Stewardship Alliance, which is a follow-on group to the Library of Congress’s NDIIP (National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program).

Visit to STRI Library

Mary Augusta Thomas and I, Nancy Gwinn, went to Panama this week to visit our library at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Center.  We saw the renovated library reading space, where extra windows have been added to bring in the light and lushness of the green spaces outside.  STRI Director Biff Bermingham has a new senior team in place with Deputy Director Ron Herzig and Owen McMillan in the newly created position of Academic Dean.  Dr. McMillan will be in charge of the expanding fellowship program. The library will work with both of these administrators for their STRI-related needs.  The two expressed great confidence in our librarian Vielka Chang-Yau and told us how important and well-run the libraries and its services are.  We also met with Vielka's staff Angel Aguirre, Ricardo Beteta, Elizabeth Sanchez, Apolinar Guerrero, and Mr. Sanchez. (See photo) The hard work and dedication of the staff are one of the keys to the library's success.  Library volunteers Diane and Abby presented their project of inventorying and digitizing the 750-item map collection in the library, more »

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