David S. Ferriero, the archivist of the United States, will be the featured speaker of the Friends of the Oberlin College Library annual dinner. Ferriero will bring a broad perspective on archives and libraries when he gives a free public talk, “What is Past is Prologue: The Role of National Archives,” at 8 p.m. Saturday, November 2, in the Root Room of the Carnegie Building.
Ferriero was sworn in as the 10th archivist of the United States on November 13, 2009. Appointed by the president, Ferriero heads the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), one of the largest archives in the world.
NARA’s current holdings are staggering in both quantity and diversity, despite the relatively small percentage of federal records considered significant enough to keep each year (1 to 3 percent). The NARA website describes the collection as “approximately 10 billion pages of textual records; 12 million maps, charts, and architectural and engineering drawings; 25 million still photographs and graphics; 24 million aerial photographs; 300,000 reels of motion picture film; 400,000 video and sound recordings; and 133 terabytes of electronic data.” The Electronic Records Archives, which NARA is now developing, will ensure permanent access to important electronic records of the federal government.
Previously, Ferriero served as the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries (NYPL). In this position, he was part of the leadership team responsible for integrating the four research libraries and 87 branch libraries into one seamless service for users. He was also instrumental in developing partnerships with Google and Microsoft as part of NYPL’s digital initiatives, which include an open access digital library of more than 750,000 images and the library’s website which serves 25 million users annually.
Ferriero’s earlier experience includes service in the Navy during the Vietnam War, three decades of library professional positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and eight years as the University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs at Duke University.
Ferriero earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from Northeastern University in Boston and a master's degree from the Simmons College of Library and Information Science, also in Boston.
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