Profile of Anne R. Kenney, Vision Speaker at the 30th Annual NASIG Conference
Anne R. Kenney
Anne R. Kenney is the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian at Cornell University and the third of three outstanding vision speakers scheduled to speak at the 30th annual NASIG conference to be held this May in Washington, D.C. Kenney manages and directs one of the top ten academic research libraries in North America, including twenty libraries and over four hundred staff. She has a MA in History, a MLIS from the University of Missouri, and a BA from Duke University. She is a member of the Transition Team for the Association of Research Libraries, on the board of the Council on Library and Information Resources, and on the MIT Libraries Visiting Committee. Last year Kenney was awarded the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award, which honors “the life and accomplishments of an eminent librarian and a leader in library automation, cooperation, and management.”
The external profiles editor interviewed Kenney and the
following are some of the questions and the responses
shared by this thought-provoking and energetic
What makes your background ideal for your work?
I have worked at Cornell since 1997 in a variety of
positions and have come to know the university and its
library very well. Through leadership positions in the
profession, I have developed a good sense of the major
issues affecting the research library community today.
Photo courtesy of Anne Kenney
What background do you wish you had?
I wish I had a background in business and marketing.
Major research libraries are mid-sized companies that
must not only prove their worth but also demonstrate
their efficiency and effectiveness.
Are there highlights of your work background you
would like to share?
For fifteen years, I led research and demonstration
projects in digital preservation and digital imaging for
libraries and archives. I am the co-author of three
award-winning books and over fifty refereed articles
What are some of the challenges and rewards of your
Challenges include addressing the unknown, declining
budgets, technological change, digital preservation, and
the costs and constraints around digital publishing.
Some of the many rewards are working with some of
the very brightest library staff in addressing such
challenge, and moving the library forward to address
twenty-first century needs and opportunities.
What do you hope to accomplish in your current
I would like to set direction for the next five years and
provide the resources to accomplish our objectives.
How does your work relate to the work of NASIG?
Digital preservation is one of the major challenges to
affect the serials information chain and almost all serials
have moved online. These challenges are therefore
important concerns for NASIG.
What is the topic for your vision session at conference
in Washington, D.C.?
My vision session will be on building a social compact
for preserving e-journals.
Can you give us some highlights or a teaser?
A digital-first ecology has disrupted traditional roles and
responsibilities for preserving the world’s scientific and
scholarly knowledge. No longer can one partner in the
serials information chain assume full responsibility for
this critical role, yet relationship differences are
inhibiting rather than enhancing the development of a
Why is the topic important?
Building a social compact for preserving e-journals will
be fundamental to preserving the world’s scholarship in
the twenty-first century.
The external profiles editor also asked Kenney about
herself and her hobbies. Kenney responded,
“When I am not at my desk, I’m a humble piano
player and avid hiker. I have summited Kilimanjaro
and hiked in the Himalayas, Patagonia, New Zealand,
and the United States. Up next is the Inca Trail.”
Kenney is definitely a library visionary and a trailblazer
in and out of libraries. She will surely deliver an
important vision session.