BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries Brenda L. Johnson has announced the appointment of Joel Silver as the director of the Lilly Library, effective April 1.
“Joel is known internationally within the academy for his impeccable credentials as a rare books curator, a prolific scholar and brilliant professor,” Johnson said. “Over the past decade that Joel has served as associate director and most recently as interim director, Joel has become known for his collaborative leadership style and diligent work ethic. I have full confidence that he will be an outstanding director for the Lilly Library.”
An undergraduate English major at the University of California, Los Angeles, Silver went on to earn his Juris Doctor from Whittier College School of Law and his MLS at Indiana University. He began his long-standing career with the Lilly Library in 1983 and has served in multiple capacities: operations manager, curator of books, associate director to former Lilly director Breon Mitchell and interim director for two separate appointments. In addition, Silver is an adjunct associate professor and director of the special collections specialization in the IU School of Library and Information Science and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of English.
Silver has also made significant academic contributions with his scores of published articles, multiple books and numerous exhibition catalogs. He has a distinguished record as a lecturer and leader of rare-books-related workshops, and he has curated many exhibitions at the Lilly Library, including “The Reign of Charles II,” “J.K. Lilly, Jr.: Bibliophile,” “English Renaissance Prose” and “Five Centuries of Music.” His most recent book, “Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly: Book Collecting in a Golden Age,” was published by Oak Knoll Press in 2011.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as the director of the Lilly Library, one of the greatest repositories of rare books and manuscripts in the world,” Silver said. “The Lilly Library is known internationally for its broad and deep collections in many different subject areas, as well as for its commitment to serve all who wish to use them. I’m looking forward to continuing to build these collections, and to taking advantage of emerging technologies to help make them available to new audiences around the world.”
Consistently ranked among the nation’s top libraries for rare books, Indiana University’s Lilly Library contains more than 400,000 rare books, more than 150,000 pieces of sheet music and more than 7.5 million manuscripts — pivotal works of literature, history and shared culture.
The Lilly holds some of the university’s most important treasures, including the New Testament of the Gutenberg Bible; the first printed edition of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”; the First Folio of Shakespeare; John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America”; an extensive Abraham Lincoln collection; personal papers of Orson Welles and Sylvia Plath; and George Washington’s letter accepting the presidency.
The Lilly Library, on Seventh Street on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, is part of the IU Bloomington Libraries. Regular business hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free and open to the public.