Joel Silver Appointed Director of IU’s Lilly Library

Joel Silver at work

Joel Silver has long been an important mentor to SLIS students. He is the Director of the SLIS Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship Specialization, the instructor for several classes that inspire and encourage SLIS students, and a SLIS alumnus. It is with great pleasure that we post the following press release from the IU Libraries.

IU Libraries: News & Events
 • Joel Silver appointed Director of the Lilly Library

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries Brenda L. Johnson has announced the appointment of Joel Silver as the Director of the Lilly Library, effective April 1.

“Joel is known internationally within the academy for his impeccable credentials as a rare books curator, a prolific scholar, and brilliant professor,” Johnson said in announcing the decision. “Over the past decade that Joel has served as Associate Director and most recently as Interim Director, Joel has become known for his collaborative leadership style and diligent work ethic. I have full confidence that he will be an outstanding Director for the Lilly Library.”

An undergraduate English major at the University of California, Los Angeles, Silver went on to earn his J.D. from Whittier College School of Law and his M.L.S. here at Indiana University. He began his long-standing career with the Lilly Library in 1983 and has served in multiple capacities: Operations Manager, Curator of Books, Associate Director to former Lilly Director, Breon Mitchell, and Interim Director for two separate appointments. In addition, Silver is an Adjunct Associate Professor and Director of the Special Collections Specialization in the IU School of Library and Information Science and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of English.

Known internationally for his impressive reputation as a rare books curator, Silver has also made significant academic contributions with his scores of published articles, multiple books, and numerous exhibition catalogs. He has a distinguished record as a lecturer and leader of rare books-related workshops, and he has curated many prestigious exhibitions at the Lilly Library, including ‘The Reign of Charles II;’ ‘J.K. Lilly, Jr. Bibliophile;’ ‘English Renaissance Prose;’ and ‘Five Centuries of Music.’ His most recent book, Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly: Book Collecting in a Golden Age, was published by Oak Knoll Press in 2011.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as the Director of the Lilly Library, one of the greatest repositories of rare books and manuscripts in the world. The Lilly Library is known internationally for its broad and deep collections in many different subject areas, as well as for its commitment to serve all who wish to use them. I’m looking forward to continuing to build these collections, and to taking advantage of emerging technologies to help make them available to new audiences around the world.”

Consistently ranked among the nation’s top libraries for rare books, Indiana University’s Lilly Library contains more than 400,000 rare books, more than 150,000 pieces of sheet music, and more than 7.5 million manuscripts – pivotal works of literature, history and our shared culture.

The Lilly holds some of the university’s most important treasures, including the New Testament of the Gutenberg Bible; the first printed edition of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; the First Folio of Shakespeare; John James Audubon’s The Birds of America; an extensive Abraham Lincoln collection; personal papers of Orson Welles and Sylvia Plath; and George Washington’s letter accepting the presidency.

The Lilly Library, located on Seventh Street on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, is part of the IU Bloomington Libraries. Regular business hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information about the Lilly Library, visit:

Posted March 27, 2013