May 15, 2020
The State Library of Ohio is pleased to announce that Wendy Knapp will be the next State Librarian of Ohio beginning June 8, 2020. Knapp has 18 years of library experience that includes state and public libraries. She has been the Deputy Director of Statewide Services at the Indiana State Library since 2012, where she oversees the Professional Development Office, Library Development Office, and Management Information Services Division. Knapp’s statewide library service began at the Indiana State Library in 2006 as an Indiana-Planning Consultant responsible for helping libraries with long-range and technology planning, administering a statewide public library consortium, and serving as State E-Rate Coordinator. Prior to being the Deputy Director of Statewide Services, she was Supervisor of the Professional Development Office. During her tenure at Indiana State Library, Knapp led initiatives such as founding Indiana Memory, inaugurating the Indiana Librarian Leadership Academy, and establishing Indiana’s role as a hub in the Digital Public Library of America.
“I’m thrilled to become part of the strong and vibrant library community of Ohio. The work that libraries do in their communities has never been more important than it is today in providing information, recording community stories, and hosting civic conversations at all levels of society,” expressed Knapp. “In the midst of this generation-defining moment of history, the safe place we provide to our communities to process, understand, remember and heal will be a vital asset in our society’s recovery.”
Knapp’s experience includes eight years as an Instructor in the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University–Purdue University and three years as an Adult Services Librarian at the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library.
Asked about living and working in Ohio, she said, “I’m looking forward to getting to know the professionals who have built these libraries and networks and working with them all to continue to lead libraries in our ever-evolving world.”
Wendy earned a Master of Library Science from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Science from University of Indianapolis. She is active in national committee work, currently serving as co-chair of the Library Development Interest Group in the Association of Cooperative and Specialized Library Agencies, a division of the American Library Association (ALA). She is a member of the E-Rate Taskforce for the ALA Office of Information Technology Policy and former board member of the Association of Cooperative and Specialized Library Agencies. Wendy is a new board member of the Ray Bradbury Center at Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and will be attending her first meeting next week. She also volunteered as librarian for the Crossroad Church of Avon and served on the Alumni Board of Directors for the University of Indianapolis.
The State Library Board was impressed with Knapp’s deep engagement with using innovative technologies to advance library goals, experience developing relationships within state government, and enthusiasm for advocacy for building library support. Board President Laurie Gemmill Arp said, “We are excited to have Wendy Knapp lead the State Library of Ohio. She is ideally suited to this important role at this time given her extensive experience with statewide initiatives, her strong commitment to bridging the digital divide, and her dedication to serving libraries and their communities.”
Knapp was appointed during this unprecedented time when the State Library building is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some services are suspended, and staff are teleworking. There is only one other time in the State Library’s history when a State Librarian was appointed during a closure. In 1934, State Librarian Paul Noon was appointed when the State Library was closed while moving to the newly constructed Ohio Departments State Office building on Front Street in Columbus. Like Noon, Knapp will manage the State Library into a time of great transition for its staff, programs, and services. During her videoconference candidate presentation, Knapp expressed her dedication to communication and optimism for the future, proclaiming “librarianship is change management.” She views this as a time for bringing people together and leading with an understanding of how futurists cope with uncertainty. To emphasize her positivity for the opportunities ahead, Knapp cited Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”