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May 07, 2024

National Gallery of Art Appoints Heather Slania as Chief Librarian

Heather Slania

Heather Slania

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art announced today that Heather Slania will join the museum as chief librarian. Slania comes to the National Gallery from the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she is director of library and academic support services. She was previously director of the library and research center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

When she begins at the National Gallery on June 16, Slania will lead one of the world’s premier resources for art historical research and knowledge. The National Gallery of Art Library is home to a wide-ranging collection of some 525,000 books and digital media on the history, theory, and criticism of art and architecture; more than 16 million photographs, slides, negatives, microforms, and digital images; and a rare book collection containing early printed books and primary source materials on the history of art. The library makes these resources available to the public and scholarly community through the Make an Appointment program and also periodic exhibitions, including the upcoming In the Library: Photography and the Book Arts from the 21st Editions Collection.

“We are thrilled that Heather Slania will bring her innovative and inspiring leadership to the role of chief librarian of the renowned National Gallery of Art Library as she joins us in our vision to be of the nation and for all the people,” said Kate Haw, executive officer—exhibitions, programs, and audience engagement. “Together with our library team, she will continue to build our unparalleled research resources, and she will place new emphasis on ensuring that more and more people have access to them, both in person and online.”

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining the National Gallery of Art as it continues to build upon its goals for public engagement,” said Slania. “My career as a librarian and a leader has always been about serving people, and to now have the opportunity to do so on such a grand scale is a true honor. As a passionate advocate for accessible and inclusive arts information, I am excited to continue aligning the library’s services with the museum’s vision. My extensive experience in academic and museum libraries, working with artists, curators, scholars, students, and the public, has prepared me to lead efforts in expanding library access and deepening public understanding. I am particularly looking forward to collaborating with all of the National Gallery’s staff, as I believe that our collective efforts will be instrumental in transforming the National Gallery of Art Library into a vibrant hub for all.”

Heather Slania

Slania has served as director of library and academic support services at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) since 2023. From 2016 to 2023, she served as director of MICA’s Decker Library. Among her responsibilities at MICA are strategic planning, assessment, and increasing the accessibility and intentionality of library resources, including born-digital resources. In 2018, Slania secured National Digital Stewardship Residency Art grant funding for a transformative digital thesis project at MICA, developing a new model for the collection, long-term preservation, and access of complex digital objects as part of art and design thesis work. Prior to her time at MICA, Slania was director of the library and research center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) from 2011 to 2016, where she secured a million-dollar donation to support the research center and embarked on groundbreaking research on web archiving. At both MICA and NMWA, she implemented multiple pan-institutional technology systems, key to accessing institutional collections and resources. She has previously worked in the libraries at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland. She has also been an active member of the Art Libraries Society of North America since 2010, steering strategic planning and leadership development for the organization in recent years. In addition, Slania has published extensively on web archiving, library leadership, and women in the arts, among other topics. Slania holds a master of library and information science degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a bachelor of science in speech degree, with a double major in art theory and practice (painting) and performance studies, from Northwestern University.

Contact Information

General Information
For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]

Chief of Communications
Anabeth Guthrie
phone: (202) 842-6804
e-mail: [email protected]

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