Wonderful Women Wednesday: Dr. Barbara J. Smith

Each week, the Archives features a woman who has been a groundbreaker at the Smithsonian, past or present, in a series titled Wonderful Women Wednesday.

Dr. Barbara J. Smith was the director of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, now part of the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives, between 1989 and 1997. She managed a staff of 140 employees across 18 libraries across the United States and in Panama. Smith was instrumental in establishing the organization’s fundraising program. 

Before joining the Smithsonian, Smith was the assistant dean of libraries at Pennsylvania State University. 

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Penn State, her master’s in education from the State University of New York at Oswego, her master’s in library science from the University of Pittsburgh, and her doctorate in higher education from Penn State.

Smith sits at a desk in front of a pile of papers and an older-looking computer.

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