Released February 13, 2007
Salem, Mass.—The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) made two important announcements today about the Phillips Library: after an extensive national search the museum has selected Sidney E. Berger, a nationally recognized library scholar and administrator, to direct the Phillips Library; and thanks to the generosity of Charles W. Pingree and his family, Mr. Berger will fill a newly endowed directorship of the Philips Library named in honor of the memory of Ann C. Pingree.
“I am very pleased to appoint a librarian of Sidney’s stature to the Phillips Library,” said Dan Monroe, PEM’s executive director and chief executive officer. “With its national standing in place, PEM is eager to further advance the Phillips Library. Sidney’s background and expertise in library leadership, his breadth of scholarship and teaching experience at both the undergraduate and graduate level, make him a wonderful new addition to the Museum.”
Sidney Berger comes to PEM with a deep knowledge of the library field. Currently a faculty member in the Communications and English Departments and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, Berger previously headed the Special Collections Department at the University of California at Riverside. He also served as Curator of Printed Books and Curator of Manuscripts at the American Antiquarian Society. As a scholar, he is a nationally recognized author and lecturer in the field of library science and book history.
“It’s a great honor for me to be able to lead a library with such a longstanding history and distinguished collections,” said Berger.
Under Berger’s leadership, the Library willl enhance its standing as one of the region’s major research libraries and develop a new role as an intellectual and research center within PEM. “Sid is particularly well-suited for the job of bringing the Library to a new level of accomplishment and achievement, and we delighted to have him on board,” added Joshua Basseches, PEM’s deputy director and chief operating officer.
Berger, who will report to Basseches, will lead one of New England’s most venerable research libraries. The Library is the result of the merger 12 years ago of the Essex Institute and the Peabody Museum, the same merger that created the Peabody Essex Museum. It is known nationally as a major resource in maritime history and art, New England life and culture, American decorative arts, Asian art and culture, Native American history and art, the art and culture of Oceania, natural history, and genealogy. Its holdings include more than 400,000 printed volumes, including numerous rare books; over 5,000 linear feet of manuscripts; over one million photographs; and tens of thousands of broadsides, periodicals, logbooks, and diaries. These extraordinarily diverse collections are important in their own right, and because they provide essential context to virtually allother collections at PEM.
Sid Berger lives in Newton with his wife, Michèle Valerie Cloonan, Dean and Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College. He begins his post part-time this month and joins the Library full-time in June 2007.
Ann C. Pingree Library Directorship
The "Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library" is a position made possible at the Peabody Essex Museum thanks to a generous gift by Charles W. Pingree and his family. This gift endows the position in perpetuity, and was made by the Pingree familyin recognition of Ann Pingree’s years of support, involvement and engagement at the Museum and Library. In addition to devoting much of her time as a volunteer in the Library, Mrs. Pingree also served as a member of the Houses and Grounds Committee, the Building Committee for the Museum transformation completed in 2003, and on and the Board of Overseers.
“Ann Pingree was an extraordinary person who deeply loved the museum and the Phillips Library. She gave generously to both throughout her life. We are honored to have the opportunity to name the Phillips Library directorship in her memory,” said Monroe.