You are here: American University Provost Communications June 29, 2020

American University Office of the Provost

Memorandum June 29, 2020

AU Community
Daniel J. Myers, Provost
Nancy Davenport, University Librarian

I am writing to announce that Nancy Davenport will retire from her position as university librarian on June 30, 2021. For the past eight years, Nancy has served our community with passion, advanced our mission of learning and research, and exemplified our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

During Nancy’s tenure, the American University Library has advanced its standing as a convener of academic gatherings that further our mission of important academic research—including the lecture series Books that Shaped America, based on a list of significant books selected by the Library of Congress; and the Exploring Social Justice Series, in partnership with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Kay Spiritual Life Center. The Colloquium on Scholarly Communication and the Conference for High-Impact Research have become highly anticipated events on the university calendar.

Under Nancy’s leadership, the AU Library became one of four pioneering founders of the ACRL Diversity Alliance academic libraries program, which works to create more opportunities for librarians from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups through the creation of residency positions.

Building on her past expertise as the director of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress, Nancy led her team to create several unique collections at AU, including the Dorothy A. and Charles A. Moore Jr. Japanese Woodblock Print Collection; the Patrick Frazier Political and Social Movements Collection of protest posters and photographs of protests that have been held in Washington, DC; collections of news photographs from photojournalists Bill Gentile (a member of the AU faculty) and Robert Nickelsberg; the archives of the US Capitol Historical Society; and the Staples & Charles Museum Design collection. She also acquired thousands of additions to the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Community Archive.  

Nancy oversaw the creation of an expert group of instructional designers, multimedia experts, and AV specialists to enhance the university’s academic technological infrastructure. Also during her tenure, two floors of the Bender Library building were remodeled to provide more study options for students, and the Geospatial Research Lab, makerspace, and a recording studio were created.

I also wish to highlight Nancy’s role in the university’s unprecedented transition to online learning during the spring of 2020. Thousands of pages of source materials were made available to students electronically, and librarians pivoted to hold office hours online, while members of the Instructional Continuity Team from the library helped our faculty to adjust to the online modality of teaching.  

Nancy joined the Eagle family in 2012, after a year of work in Vietnam, where she led efforts to create a parliamentary library under the US Agency for International Development’s legislative research program. A reception to honor her service will take place at a date to be announced. The Office of the Provost will soon commence a nationwide search for our next university librarian.