Librarian of Congress Appoints
Jennifer Meehan Director of Special Collections
Jennifer Meehan, head of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library at Penn State University, has been named director of the Library of Congress’ Special Collections Directorate effective Aug. 1.
Meehan’s career spans over 18 years in academic and research institutions in positions of progressive responsibility including 14 years of management and leadership experience. She currently serves as head of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library at Penn State University. In this role, she provides leadership and strategic direction for special collections and university archives across the University Libraries. She also leads operations for collection development, maintenance, access, reference and instruction, outreach and public programming, and community and stakeholder engagement.
Meehan previously served as associate director of the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library at Emory University and has held positions at Yale University, the Smithsonian Institution and Virginia Tech. Jennifer received a master’s in Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia and a B.A. in English and Film Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
Meehan is passionate about facilitating discovery, learning and creativity by connecting people to the rare, unique and distinctive resources of special collections. Across her various roles, she has led collaborative initiatives to develop holistic, integrated programs and inclusive services aimed at enhancing access to and use of cultural heritage and broadening the reach and impact of special collections, especially for underrepresented and underserved communities.
Meehan has written extensively on archival concepts of evidence and value, the theory and practice of archival arrangement and practice, and the role of storytelling in archival outreach and advocacy, publishing articles in leading archival journals and presenting at national and international conferences. She has served on numerous regional and national groups focused on archives and special collections, including most recently with the Big Ten Academic Alliance, Association of Research Libraries, and Society of American Archivists.
“I’m delighted to welcome Jennifer to the Library of Congress,” said Robin Dale, deputy librarian for Library Collections & Services. “She brings a clear vision, deep expertise, and a strong record of accomplishment in leading forward-looking special collections programs to broaden the reach and impact of special collections for diverse user groups.”
Commenting on her appointment, Meehan said, “As the country’s first cultural institution and the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress stands as a beacon in the national consciousness, offering a universal collection available to all and embracing a mission to engage, inspire and inform users. The role of director of the Special Collections Directorate presents an especially compelling opportunity to serve the Library’s vision for connecting with all Americans. I am excited by the possibilities the position affords for leveraging the Library’s unique, special and rare collections to inspire imagination and enrich the user experience.”
The Special Collections Directorate comprises six Library of Congress curatorial divisions that have extensive unique or rare holdings: the American Folklife Center (including the Veterans History Project), the Geography and Map Division, the Manuscript Division, the Music Division, the Prints and Photographs Division and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. The Special Collections Directorate is part of Researcher & Collections Services, currently led by Dale.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.