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Remembering Anne Kenney, 1950–2022

photo of Anne Kenney
Anne Kenney

Anne R. Kenney, university librarian emerita for Cornell University, died on February 5, 2022, at age 72.

Kenney served as Carl A. Kroch University Librarian at Cornell University from April 2008 to April 2017, when she went on research leave until her retirement in October 2017. She started at Cornell in 1987, serving as associate director for the Department of Preservation and Conservation, and then as associate university librarian for instruction, research, and information services, before advancing to the position of university librarian.

Active in the profession, Kenney was an international leader in digitization of library collections. She served as a fellow and president of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), co-authored three award-winning monographs and more than 50 articles and reports, and was awarded the American Library Association (ALA) Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award in 2014. Kenney served as a commissioner of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, a member of the National Science Foundation/European Union Working Group on a Digital Preservation Research Agenda, a member of the Clinton/Gore Transition Team, and an expert witness on behalf of SAA before a US Senate Subcommittee on Governmental Operations. In 2017, she co-curated the widely popular exhibit The World Bewitch’d, featuring the Cornell Witchcraft Collection.

“Anne Kenney was a treasured colleague, mentor, and friend to many of us in the research library and archives community,” said Association of Research Libraries (ARL) President K. Matthew Dames, the Edward H. Arnold University Librarian at the University of Notre Dame. “She broke important ground in preservation and digitization, and led with tremendous vision, humor, and equilibrium. Her absence will be felt for years to come.”

Kenney was highly respected within ARL. She served as interim executive director (January–March 2018) and as a member of the Board of Directors (2010–2013). She also served on several ARL committees and working groups: Member Engagement and Outreach Committee (chair 2015–2016), Strategic Thinking and Design Transition Team (2014–2016), Membership Committee (2013–2015), Special Collections Working Group (chair 2010–2012, member 2007–2009), Transforming Research Libraries Committee (2010–2012), and Nominating Committee (2008).

In honoring Kenney’s memory, please consider a donation to the Anne Kenney Endowment Fund that supports library collections at Cornell University, c/o Jennifer Sawyer, 130 East Seneca Street, 4th floor, Ithaca, New York 14850. For more information about the fund, please contact Jennifer Sawyer at (607) 227-7759.

To learn more about Kenney’s life and career, see the February 8, 2022, Cornell Chronicle story, “Anne R. Kenney, Former University Librarian, Dies at 72.”


About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 126 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise; advances diversity, equity, and inclusion; and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.