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The Gwendolen Rochester Leighty Endowment for the Smithsonian Libraries

View materials purchased by funds from this endowment

In January 1994, Gwen Leighty was named the Development Officer at the Smithsonian Libraries. She was essential in building a brand-new fund-raising program that included establishment of the National Advisory Board, creating the Spencer Baird Society, and implementation of a capital campaign. In 2005, Gwen passed away after a battle with breast cancer. She was a treasured member of the Libraries staff.

Through funds generously donated from her friends and family, The Gwendolen Rochester Leighty Endowment was established in 2007 and funds Smithsonian Libraries acquisitions including books, journals, and electronic databases. Her endowment also funds staff development – an area that Gwen was quite passionate about. Among the many dynamic departments that make up the Libraries and together excite the learning in everyone, staff development allows the Libraries to carry out their mission while investing in current staff and developing their skills. Many different staff members have benefited from this endowment, including our human resources team and branch librarians.

“As a recently hired Smithsonian Libraries staff member, I was very grateful for the support in attending the 2012 American Library Association conference. It offered a wonderful opportunity to explore some important subjects related to my new position as an instructional/reference librarian. I attended informative sessions on topics like library instruction for distance learners, e-book access within research libraries, and emerging technologies for reference services. I also had a chance to meet and talk with many new (and some old) colleagues, which never fails to spark new ideas and valuable connections.”

Trina Brown, Instructional and Reference Librarian
National Museum of American History

“At my first Special Libraries Association national conference, the session content was beneficial and enlightening, but what had the biggest impact for me was making connections with other librarians who support zoological parks.  We are a unique and small group, so the opportunity to meet them and share our experiences was priceless!”

Kristen Bullard, Librarian
National Zoological Park