Nancy Gwinn

Nancy E. Gwinn has been the director of the Smithsonian Libraries since 1997. She is a recognized leader in international librarianship, the application of library technologies and building collaborations and partnerships.

During her tenure, Gwinn launched the Libraries’ exhibition program, introduced a web site visited by 1 million people annually, expanded the Libraries’ rare book and electronic collections and created the first Libraries Advisory Board to assist with an aggressive fundraising program. Further, the Libraries initiated and became the lead partner in establishing the international digital Biodiversity Heritage Library and administers the program’s secretariat. Gwinn is the current chair of the BHL Members Council, serves as secretary of the Global BHL Coordinating Council and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Encyclopedia of Life.

Gwinn was a member of the governing board of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions from 2004 to 2009, chair of its Professional Committee from 2007 to 2009, and from 2012 has been a consultant to the IFLA Leadership Development Program. She is currently Chair of the IFLA Management and Marketing Section. Gwinn is the Smithsonian representative to the Digital Public Library of America and to the Association of Research Libraries. She was a member of the Cottey College Board of Trustees from 2006-2013. Gwinn joined the Smithsonian in 1984 as the Libraries’ assistant director for collections management. Her career includes positions at the Library of Congress, the Council on Library Resources and the Research Libraries Group.

A former Fulbright scholar at the University of Oxford in England, Gwinn holds a doctorate in American civilization from George Washington University, a master of arts in library science from the University of Michigan and a bachelor of arts from the University of Wyoming. She has been named a Distinguished Alumna of the University of Michigan School of Information, Mortar Board, and the University of Wyoming, which also awarded her an honorary degree in 2013.  A frequent consultant and speaker, she has written on many library-related and historical subjects. Her publications have received the Waldo Gifford Leland prize of the Society of American Archivists and the American Library Association’s Blackwell North American Scholarship Award. Her most recent work has focused on aspects of the joint history of the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress.