2022 Henderson Conversation: David S. Ferriero, Tenth Archivist of the United States
On July 28, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated David S. Ferriero to be Archivist of the United States. The U.S. Senate confirmed Mr. Ferriero on November 6, 2009, and he was sworn in as the 10th Archivist of the United States on November 13, 2009.
Early in 2010 he committed the National Archives and Records Administration to the principles of Open Government—transparency, participation, and collaboration. To better position NARA to fulfill these goals, Mr. Ferriero initiated an agency transformation in 2010. The transformation restructured the organization and set goals to further the agency’s mission, meet the needs of its customers, and find new, creative ways to approach the agency’s work.
During Mr. Ferriero’s tenure, to further openness and access, the agency embraced a number of social media tools—Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, Tumblr, and others—to reach a wider and broader audience. Mr. Ferriero also created a crowd-sourcing initiative called "citizen archivists,” to get the public more involved with identifying, describing, and sharing federal records, and in 2013 opened the agency’s Innovation Hub.
In August 2012 under Mr. Ferriero’s leadership, NARA, in collaboration with the Office of Management and Budget, produced the Managing Government Records Directive to modernize and improve federal records management practices. This and subsequent directives put the federal government on a path to becoming completely digital.
As Archivist, Mr. Ferriero oversaw the addition of three new Presidential Libraries to the NARA Presidential Library system. The George W. Bush Presidential Library, the Barack Obama Presidential Library, and the Donald J. Trump Presidential Libraries became the 13th, 14th, and 15th libraries, respectively.
During Mr. Ferriero’s time, the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO, moved into a newly constructed building, and the National Archives at New York and the National Archives at Denver moved to new locations. In Washington, DC, the National Archives Museum opened a new visitor orientation plaza, and the new David M. Rubenstein Gallery opened in December 2013, featuring a new permanent exhibit, Records of Rights.
In his last two years as Archivist of the United States, Mr. Ferriero led the agency through the COVID-19 pandemic, overseeing an unprecedented move to remote work. He retired as Archivist on April 30, 2022.
Before coming to the National Archives, Mr. Ferriero served as the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries (NYPL). He was part of the leadership team responsible for integrating the four research libraries and 87 branch libraries into one seamless service for users, creating the largest public library system in the United States and one of the largest research libraries in the world. Mr. Ferriero was in charge of collection strategy, conservation, digital experience, reference and research services, and education, programming, and exhibitions.
Previous to his time at NYPL, Mr. Ferriero served in top positions at two of the nation’s major academic libraries, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, and Duke University in Durham, NC. In those positions, he led major initiatives, including the expansion of facilities, the adoption of digital technologies, and a reengineering of printing and publications.
Mr. Ferriero earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from Northeastern University in Boston and a master’s degree from the Simmons College of Library and Information Science, also in Boston. Mr. Ferriero served as a Navy hospital corpsman during the Vietnam War.
SILS 2022-23 Faculty AMAs, Alumni AMAs, and Alumni Lectures
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