Campaign Priority: Supporting Experts and Innovators

Our librarians and skilled staff provide invaluable service to the Duke community. These are the men and women who work together to meet the teaching and research needs of the entire Duke community, day in and day out. They’re accomplished specialists versed not only in their particular academic fields, but also in how to find, organize, preserve, and share the wealth of material available in today’s information-driven society. Philanthropic investment during the Duke Forward campaign has allowed us to attract and support innovative librarians, technologists, and archivists—such as those highlighted here.

Example of Impact: Endowed Conservator Position Extends Life of Library Holdings

In 2011, the Libraries received a $1.25 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create a new senior conservator position to help care for the Libraries’ extensive research collections. An additional $1 million gift from the Carpenter Foundation helped to permanently endow the position.

Beth Doyle is the Leona B. Carpenter Senior Conservator and Head of the Conservation Services Department. She says that the endowment has helped the Libraries address a growing need to preserve and make accessible a wide variety of materials that are currently unavailable to researchers or could be damaged by use because of their fragile condition.

“This endowment not only helps our department fulfill its mission to ensure the use of our collections by current and future patrons, but it demonstrates a long-term and deeply-held commitment to the materials we acquire,” said Doyle. “With proper care and conservation, our collections can continue to be an essential part of research, teaching and scholarly communication at Duke University.”

Duke’s experienced team of library conservation professionals serves as a local and regional resource on a range of conservation-related issues. The demand for skilled conservation professionals has never been higher, as historic library collections age and technology poses new questions about long-term access to information.

Example of Impact: Endowed Directorship Helps Preserve Women’s History

In 2011, journalist, activist, and women’s health care pioneer Merle Hoffman endowed the directorship of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture to ensure sustained leadership of the Center. Hoffman has played a key role in defining and defending women’s human and reproductive rights for over forty years.

“We’re pleased and grateful for this gift because it associates Merle Hoffman’s name with the directorship, creating an enduring connection between the Bingham Center and Hoffman’s outstanding contributions to the health, safety, and empowerment of women,” said current Bingham Center director Laura Micham. “The gift has enabled us to expand our activities and impact, bringing us closer to our goal of building one of the premier research centers for women’s history and culture in the world.”

In 2014, Micham was honored with a career achievement award by the Association of College and Research Libraries Women and Gender Studies Section. The award honors significant long-standing contributions to women’s studies in the field of librarianship over the course of a career. The award announcement cites Micham’s expertise, advocacy for archives, leadership, vision, and her proactive work with students.

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