Daniel Greene to Depart the Newberry, Gail Kern Paster Named Interim President and Librarian

Gail Kern Paster, a Newberry Board member and Director Emerita of the Folger Shakespeare Library, will lead the Newberry following the departure of Daniel Greene this spring. Greene will return to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he will contribute to major projects related to Holocaust education.

Daniel Greene and Gail Kern Paster

Daniel Greene and Gail Kern Paster

Daniel Greene, President and Librarian of the Newberry since 2019, will leave his position at the library in spring 2023. Gail Paster, a Newberry Board member since 2013 and Director Emerita of the Folger Shakespeare Library, will become interim President and Librarian while the Newberry conducts a national search to fill the position.

Under Greene’s leadership, the Newberry crafted a strategic plan that emphasizes knowledge production, communities of learning, access to the collection, and institutional health. The Newberry’s leadership and staff have made great strides toward these goals, expanding the ways that the library serves both scholarly and public communities.

Signature achievements include expanding the library’s exhibitions program, launching a new website with greatly enhanced access to digital collections, continuing to grow the library’s world-class collection with new acquisitions, and establishing the annual Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award at the Newberry Library. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives also have been a focus for Greene, with efforts to make the library building more accessible, add more underrepresented voices to its collection, and collaborate with Native communities to expand access to Indigenous studies collections, among others.

“We are grateful to Daniel Greene for all he has done to advance the Newberry’s mission during his time as President and Librarian,” said Robert Holland, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Under his leadership, the Newberry has navigated the challenges of the pandemic while pursuing new, innovative ways to serve its many audiences. Dr. Greene departs the Newberry after guiding the library on a path to expanding its role as a civic and cultural institution in the city of Chicago.”

This spring, Greene will be returning to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), where he will contribute to a number of projects related to the field of Holocaust education. Prior to arriving at the Newberry, Greene curated Americans and the Holocaust, an exhibition at the USHMM that also inspired the 2022 PBS documentary The U.S. and the Holocaust, directed by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein. One of Greene’s last duties at the library will be presenting Ken Burns with the Newberry Library Award for outstanding contributions to the humanities at the library’s award celebration on May 5, 2023.

Stepping into the role of interim President and Librarian, Gail Kern Paster brings a wealth of experience in institutional leadership to the Newberry. From 2002 to 2011, she was Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, retiring from that position as Director Emerita. Currently a consulting editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, Paster is the author of numerous scholarly articles and three books: The Idea of the City in the Age of Shakespeare (1986), The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplines of Shame in Early Modern England (1993), and Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage (2004). She was named to the Queen’s Honours List in 2011.

In addition to her role as a trustee on the Board of the Newberry, Paster serves on the Board of Governors of the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Board of Trustees for Gulfshore Playhouse, and the Scholars’ Council of Theater for a New Audience in New York City.

“Gail Paster is both a widely respected scholar and a proven leader of cultural institutions,” said Mr. Holland. “She will guide the Newberry with wisdom and integrity as we embark on the process of finding our next President and Librarian.”

Paster will start as interim President and Librarian on April 17, 2023.