The Library of Congress has selected Shari Rosenstein Werb and David S. Mandel to be the directors, respectively, of the Center for Learning, Literacy and Engagement and the Center for Exhibits and Interpretation.“I am thrilled to have these innovative leaders on the Library of Congress team as we prepare to invest considerable energy in improved public engagement in the coming years,” the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, said today, “They both are entering these new positions with an amazing list of accomplishments. I am excited about the prospects and the contributions they will bring toward making the Library more user-focused and connected to the public we serve.”
Werb comes to the Library of Congress from the Smithsonian Institution where for 10 years, she was the director of education, outreach and the visitor experience program at the National Museum of Natural History. She led the transformation of public engagement with the Museum’s exhibitions, collections and experts. Her strategy of encouraging the personal involvement of scientists and increasing the presence of scientific research in all public learning offerings has brought the Museum’s vast trove of “behind-the-scenes” resources to the fore and insprires new types of engagement experiences. Under her leadership, Q?rius (pronounced “curious”), the Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center, opened in December 2013, a nationally recognized model for promoting curiosity and public learning about science and its relevance to our world. She is committed to broadening equity and access to scientific experiences for diverse audiences, with her team introducing two award-winning signature programs: a national science webcast series and a paid local high school science apprenticeship program; she launched an active public program offering for local adults and families, and significantly expanded and professionalized the Museum’s volunteer and visitor services program.
In 2010, Werb testified to the House Committee on Science and Technology on a panel titled “Behind-the-Scenes: Science and Education at the Smithsonian.” She was selected as a Noyce Leadership Fellow for leaders of scientific museums from 2011-2012, was a member of the 2013 class of Leadership Greater Washington and participated in the Stanford University Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute in 2015.
Before joining the Smithsonian, Werb spent more than 17 years at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum where she served as the director of institutional outreach, the director of educational and public programs and as a museum educator.
Werb received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Boston University and a Master of Science in Education degree from Bank Street College of Education.
Mandel is currently the Interpretive Programs Officer in the National and International Outreach service unit where he is responsible for the leadership, oversight, and direction of the Interpretive Programs Office.
Mandel oversaw the entire “Baseball Americana” multimedia exhibition and was influential in securing funding for the exhibit. Mandel has developed audiovisual and digital strategies for exhibitions to ensure content is engaging, thoughtful and technologically current. Previously, Mandel was in charge of planning, managing and administering the 16,000-square-foot permanent multimedia exhibition for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta.
With over 25 years of experience working on award-winning exhibits, Mandel has planned, developed, managed and administered more than 75 exhibitions for institutions that include the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the New York Historical Society’s Museum and Library, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Newseum, the National Constitution Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame and ESPN.
Mandel has received numerous awards and positive reviews from nationally recognized museums and private organizations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Intellectual History from Washington University in St. Louis and has graduate studies in graphic design from the Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Both appointments take effect in August and the new centers that Werb and Mandel will lead are set to launch on Oct. 1.
Under Werb’s direction, the Center for Learning, Literacy and Engagement will activate and animate the collections through educational and cultural programming, visitor engagement, and partnerships. Through storytelling and festivals, tours and open houses, concerts and films, tutorials, learning labs, conferences and other occasions to invite people in, the center will bring the nation’s library to life.
Under Mandel, the Center for Exhibits and Interpretation will focus on creating exhibitions, learning spaces and publications that provide access to and connections with the collections both physically and digitally. Additionally, he will oversee the design and printing departments, developing and implementing a more integrated design approach across the Library.