The Brown University Library is pleased to announce the appointment of Amanda Strauss as Associate University Librarian for Special Collections.
As Associate University Librarian, Ms. Strauss will oversee the University’s outstanding collections of rare books, manuscripts, archives, and other unique and special materials. Reporting to and working in close partnership with Joseph Meisel, Joukowsky Family University Librarian, she will oversee the curators, staff, and operations of the John Hay Library and provide leadership for special collections stewardship, acquisitions, scholarly programming, research and education services, and resource development.
In the course of an extensive nationwide search, Ms. Strauss, who is currently Manager of Special Projects and Digital Services at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, impressed Library staff and participating faculty members with her experience and compelling ideas for advancing the mission of special collections at Brown. University Librarian Meisel said, “I am delighted that Amanda will be joining the Brown University Library in this critical leadership position. She will bring a dynamic vision to the John Hay Library and raise its profile as one of the nation’s great special collections libraries.
”As a member of the Brown University Library’s senior leadership team, Ms. Strauss will be a key contributor to shaping the Library’s strategic directions, advancing Library-wide planning and evaluation, and developing policies and procedures to promote operational excellence. She will work with faculty and Library staff to promote the use of Brown’s special collections holdings in research, teaching, exhibitions, outreach, and public programs across all academic divisions, while also bringing to bear her knowledge of the array of current tools for developing innovative digital initiatives for enhancing delivery of special collections content and services to scholarly and non-scholarly audiences alike.
An essential part of Ms. Strauss’ work will be to actively develop and contribute to initiatives that advance diversity and inclusion in special collections and throughout the Library. She will direct the Hay’s curatorial staff in evaluating collections strengths, setting acquisition priorities, and establishing effective collection management practices. How special collections are understood and used—especially through the lens of equity and inclusion—is an area where she brings experience and insight. Drawing upon her success at promoting institutional collaborations at the Schlesinger Library, Ms. Strauss will also help build stronger programmatic ties with other institutions at Brown, such as the John Carter Brown Library, the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities, the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, as well as exploring new opportunities for external partnerships.
Ms. Strauss earned both her MLIS with a concentration in Archival Studies and her MA in History from Simmons College. She also holds a BA in History and Spanish from Willamette University. The author of “Treading the Ground of Contested Memory: Archivists and the Human Rights Movement in Chile” (Archival Science 2015), she is a scholar of human rights archives as well as twentieth century women’s movements in the United States. Her path into special collections administration is rooted in research services, where she specialized in teaching with primary sources. While at Schlesinger, her particular focus has been on visioning and managing the library’s cutting-edge digital services program. Among other accomplishments at Schlesinger, Ms. Strauss developed and managed significant grant-funded projects, notably the Long 19th Amendment Project, which commemorates the centennial of the 19th Amendment, as well as the large-scale effort to document the digital footprint of the #metoo movement.
Ms. Strauss’ first day at the Brown University Library will be July 1. We look forward to welcoming her to Brown and working together to develop a compelling and creative vision to strengthen the activities and wider visibility of the John Hay Library as a center of scholarship and education.