Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty has been appointed director of the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives, effective Nov. 6. An expert in the stewardship, interpretation and acquisition of collections, Evangelestia-Dougherty brings a rich background driving public outreach and cultivating robust print and digital collections across diverse subject matters. Evangelestia-Dougherty will bring strategic leadership to the recently integrated Smithsonian Libraries and Archives, which is responsible for nearly 3 million library volumes and over 44,000 cubic feet of archival materials chronicling the history of the Smithsonian. She will oversee 137 employees, a national advisory board of 15 members, an annual budget of over $16 million and 22 library branches and reading rooms located in Washington, D.C., New York City, Maryland, Virginia and the Republic of Panama.
“The Smithsonian Libraries and Archives organization provides invaluable services that underpin the research, scholarship and programs of the Smithsonian,” said Lonnie Bunch, the Secretary of the Smithsonian. “Tamar’s expertise and leadership will accelerate our digital presence and help us reach new audiences while continuing to support our world-class scholarship.” “All work at Smithsonian Libraries and Archives arises from the central purpose of scholarship, intellectual curiosity and continuous engagement,” Evangelestia-Dougherty said. “As director, I look forward to inspiring our audiences, sustaining the success of our staff and reflecting the mission of the Smithsonian Institution through my leadership.” Evangelestia-Dougherty has a proven track record strengthening collections and digital initiatives. She is currently an associate university librarian at Cornell University where she initiated Cornell RAD, a new research hub for rare and distinctive collections. She is also a faculty member of the UCLA California Rare Book School. As director of collections and services at New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture from 2013 to 2014, Evangelestia-Dougherty led collection and programmatic development of five curatorial divisions. At the University of Chicago’s Black Metropolis Research Consortium, she served as executive director from 2011 to SI-303-2021
2013 and as consulting archivist from 2007 to 2011. There, she successfully led initiatives to discover and make accessible archives related to the African American diaspora. In addition to her extensive work with rare and distinctive collections, Evangelestia-Dougherty is a published author and public speaker who has presented nationally on topics of inclusivity and equity in bibliography, administration and primary-source literacy. She currently serves on the boards of Digital Scriptorium and the American Printing History Association. Evangelestia-Dougherty holds a Master of Science in information science from Simmons University’s School of Library and Information Science in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Houston.
Evangelestia-Dougherty succeeds Nancy Gwinn, who was the director of Smithsonian Libraries from 1997 to 2019, and Tammy Peters, who was the interim director of Smithsonian Institution Archives after the retirement of Anne Van Camp in 2018. Scott Miller, the Smithsonian’s Chief Scientist, has served as the interim director of Smithsonian Libraries and Archives since 2020. Smithsonian Libraries merged with Smithsonian Institution Archives in 2020.