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Category: From the Director

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 obriene@si.edu. 

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, the colored dots that will grace all of our products, fondly known as “chromazones,” a play on “chromosome,” with “chroma” meaning color in Greek and “zones” describing areas of our collections; green is Natural & Physical Sciences, purple is Special Collections (rare books & manuscripts), orange is Art & Design, and blue is History & Culture. You’ll find these on our website, our mobile apps, our brochures, our name badges, and anywhere else we can think to put them.

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 12-year-old son.

In Memoriam of Russell Train

Dr. Nancy E. Gwinn, Roger and Vicki Sant, Russell and Aileen Train, and Dr. Wade Davis at the “Art of African Exploration” opening reception in December of 2008.

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

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.