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Updated 3:00 PM August 7, 2008




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Americana curator, scholar to lead Clements Library

From his early career as a dealer of rare books to his current role as curator, scholar and administrator, J. Kevin Graffagnino has had his eye on the William L. Clements Library. Now, he'll get an up-close look at the inner workings and play a vital role in shaping the 21st-century direction of the library with a preeminent collection of primary source materials from the early days of the American republic.

Pending formal approval in September by the Board of Regents, Graffagnino will begin his new post as library director Nov. 17.

"We are extremely pleased that Kevin Graffagnino will assume the leadership of the Clements Library," says President Mary Sue Coleman. "His vision for the library will lead us to improve ties to the University community, attract fundraising and elevate public awareness of the library as a treasure in the world of special collections."

Graffagnino will arrive at U-M from his current post as executive director of the Vermont Historical Society, where he has worked since 2003. He oversees the library, archives, museum, publications, education and outreach at the historical society. Under his leadership, the society received a national medal for public service from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

"What William Clements created in the 1920s and what the staff and University of Michigan have accomplished with the library since then have made it a remarkably important depository of American history," he says.

"Dr.Graffagnino will bring extensive experience as a curator, scholar, teacher, publisher and administrator," says Provost Teresa Sullivan. "We look forward to many years of his leadership at the Clements."

From 1999-2003 Graffagnino served as executive director for the Kentucky Historical Society. Prior to that he was director of the library for the Historical Society of Wisconsin. He comes with a range of administrative experience, managing operating budgets of upward of $7 million and 92 full-time employees.

Throughout his career Graffagnino has given 600 public talks and authored/edited 16 books, including "All the Good Books: Quotations for Bibliophiles," published in 2006.

In 1976 he received a bachelor's degree in history and English, and two years later earned a master's degree in history, both from the University of Vermont. In 1993 Graffagnino received a doctorate in history from the University of Massachusetts.

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