Michelle Light, formerly director of Special Collections and Archives at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has been named director of the Library of Congress’ Special Collections Directorate. She began work in her new position on May 28.
Light’s professional career in libraries spans 26 years and includes positions of progressive responsibility: head of Special Collections Technical Services at the University of Washington; head of Special Collections, Archives and Digital Scholarship at the University of California, Irvine; and director of Special Collections and Archives at UNLV. Her service in these positions reflects extensive hands-on and management experience in such areas as special collections technical services, collection development, digital programs, public service and outreach programs, and fundraising. At UNLV since 2013, Light was responsible for three units, with up to 55 staff, ranging from faculty members to student employees. She led the division through a reorganization and two strategic-planning cycles.
Light has been very active in both the archival and rare book arenas. For example, she is a frequent presenter at conferences and other events sponsored by the Society of American Archivists (SAA) and was a participant in the Association of Research Libraries Leadership Fellows Program (2018-19). Her publications include articles such as “From Responsible Custody to Responsible Stewardship” (2019), “Controlling Goods or Promoting the Public Good: Choices for Special Collections in the Marketplace” (2015) and “Colophons and Annotations: New Directions for the Finding Aid” (2002). She is also the co-author of the forthcoming book “Selecting and Appraising Archives and Manuscripts,” which will be part of SAA’s Series III, “Archival Fundamentals.”
Light’s educational background includes a B.A. in history from the University of Oregon’s R. H. Clark Honors College. She earned an M.S. in information (archives and records management) and an M.A. in history from the University of Michigan.
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