Veteran Family History Librarian Randy Riley Selected as the Next State Librarian of Michigan

It is great to see an award-winning family history librarian be promoted. The following announcement was written by the office of the Michigan Director of Public and Governmental Affairs:

LANSING – Randy Riley has been selected as the next State Librarian, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced. Riley, who has been the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) coordinator, will succeed Nancy Robertson, who is retiring April 30th after almost a decade in that role.

Riley is a librarian’s librarian, according to State Superintendent Mike Flanagan, with 24 years of varied experience at the Library of Michigan (LM), where he coordinated Michigan’s Notable Books program and Center for the Book, plus MeL.

“While we are sad to see Nancy retire, I am happy that Nancy’s work as State Librarian will be followed so well by such a veteran of library sciences as Randy,” Flanagan said. “Randy has a tremendous amount of experience in reading programs, which is a good fit for the Michigan Department of Education’s priorities that include increasing reading proficiency by the end of third grade, and obtaining books for needy children through the MDE Culture of Reading program.”

Riley’s current duties include oversight of MeL and promoting its resources statewide to libraries, schools and state government. He led the redesign of MeL’s website and installation of its discovery search capabilities. He also oversaw statewide database contracts and served as the Library of Michigan’s liaison with the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS). In that position, Riley criss-crossed the state presenting to schools, libraries, business support groups and other organizations.

Additionally, he partnered with the Archives of Michigan to create the SeekingMichigan website and the addition of more than one million death records to this free online resource for genealogical research. He has served as the editor of the Michigan Genealogist eNewsletter, and is a former reference librarian. In 2010, Riley received the Filby Award as the leading family history librarian in the United States.

“Being selected as State Librarian is a humbling experience,” Riley said, “and I look forward to steering the Library of Michigan toward new levels of innovative services, programs and technologies.”

Before joining LM in October of 1989, Riley did substitute teaching at schools in Ionia and Montcalm counties and taught history and social studies at the Valley School in Swartz Creek.

Outgoing State Librarian Nancy Robertson has served in that role since 2005.

My thanks to newsletter reader Tom Koselka for telling me about this announcement.

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