Mike Hardy is truly a jack of all trades. Before joining the Libraries, Hardy worked as a greens keeper at a private golf course, delivered furniture, carried groceries to shut-ins, managed a gas station, worked as part of a surveying crew for the communications cables between Atlas sites, had a long career in the Navy (24 years), served as an organization development consultant, and taught English in Taiwan. Phew! Hardy currently manages the collection at the Libraries' Research Annex (SILRA), and before this post was the serials manager at the National Museum of American History Library for three years.
Hardy is a native of Illinois and graduated from the State University of New York with a B.A. in geography. His hobbies include reading science and history non-fiction, and listening to several musical genres: rock, soul, blues, jazz and, as he describes, “a lot of weird world music!”
Hardy is truly a Smithsonian enthusiast; his favorite destinations in the DC area are the Smithsonian museums. He also likes to go to the U.S. Botanic Garden and the National Arboretum, and visit local national wildlife refuges. Upcoming excursions for Hardy include going to the International Spy Museum and the upgraded National Aquarium, located in the Department of Commerce building. A seasoned world traveler, Hardy has either lived in or visited the following countries: Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Kenya, Bahrain and Mauritius. He can speak, read and write Chinese, and has also been to 40 of the 50 U.S. states.
Hardy’s job at SILRA is complex. He performs all of the usual library duties (ie: circulation, interlibrary loan, inter-branch transfers, reference) yet also deals with a heavy traffic of acquisitions and withdrawals. In fact, since starting his position at SILRA six years ago, Hardy has shipped over 4700 feet of materials to federal and other non-profit libraries. Hardy receives new donations and inspects them for insect, mold or other types of trauma. He is currently sorting and shelving a 10,000+ piece collection of mail order catalogs. SILRA also serves as a clearing house for placing the items in the correct library branches, in particular those shipped out of the DC area, to the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Library in New York, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Library in Panama, and the National Museum of American Indian Library, and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Library, both in Suitland, Md.—Liz O'Brien
photo by Lu Rossignol