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Head and shoulders portrait of Angela Kinney, smiling, wearing a blue suit jacket and dark blue scarf
Angela Kinney Photo: Elaina Finkelstein.

Q&A: Angela Kinney

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Angela Kinney was named deputy director of the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate in November.

Tell us about your background.

I was born in Cincinnati to a family of 11, including my parents. My father and mother believed strongly that one is best educated in Catholic schools. Following their religious beliefs, I spent nearly the entirety of my formal education attending Catholic schools, including college and graduate school.

After graduating from an all-girls high school, I set my sights on moving to the Washington, D.C., area to further my education and interest in foreign languages. I applied only to Georgetown University and Trinity College, both Catholic schools that had outstanding foreign language study programs.

Ultimately, I completed my bachelor’s degree at Georgetown in languages and linguistics and later obtained a master’s degree in library science at the Catholic University of America.

What brought you to the Library, and how has your career evolved?

My original goal after finishing my undergraduate degree was to pursue a career as a diplomat in the foreign service. However, a fellow student from Ohio told me about job opportunities at the Library. I remain so thankful that I was able to express my gratitude to my friend, to whom I owe my professional career, before he passed away. He died shortly after I got my job at the Library.

At that time, I had no idea that the help he lent me to navigate the process of applying would turn into a career that would last for 42 years and counting, all at the Library.

My first job was as an information counter attendant in retail sales, where I learned about the Library’s infrastructure and how to manage federal funds. I met some of the most renowned dignitaries in the world in that position, including Henry Kissinger. He stopped by the gift shop one day to make a purchase and ended up chatting with me for 10 minutes!

Over the past four decades, I have held progressively responsible positions — technician, librarian, first-line supervisor, chief of the Social Sciences Cataloging Division. For 15 years, I served as chief of the African, Latin American and Western European Division, an acquiring and cataloging unit. I will always look back on the years I spent managing SSCD and ALAWE as some of the most inspiring of my tenure at the Library.

Most recently, I was thrilled to be selected for the position of deputy director in the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access (ABA) Directorate, a job I assumed on Nov. 20. My duties are to support the ABA director and to provide oversight for the U.S./Anglo, Asian and Middle Eastern and Germanic and Slavic divisions. Stepping into this new position, I feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that I have brought about positive changes at Library.

What are some of your standout projects?

While serving on detail as a Leadership Development Program intern two decades ago, I led the Library’s initiative to launch the Employee Express program, the precursor to the Employee Personal Page. I also implemented the Library’s first shelf-ready cataloging operation, which involved training a book vendor to create cataloging records in the same fashion Library staff members do.

The most significant task that lies ahead for me as deputy director is to develop an arrearage reduction plan for ABA. I am excited about the careful collaboration with colleagues this monumental assignment will entail.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I do not have much spare time, because I have always been one to work long hours. However, I do enjoy traveling and spending most of my leisure time with family and close friends.

What is something your co-workers may not know about you?

What most colleagues do not know about me is that I am super passionate about genealogy. I am a big fan of Henry Louis Gates’ PBS program “Finding Your Roots.” Following the genealogical techniques from his show, I successfully traced the lineage of my father’s side of my family back six generations. I shared the results at a family reunion last summer, and the joy I saw on the faces of my relatives confirmed that they will be depending on me to be the family genealogist in the future!

Comments (3)

  1. Keep the Q&As coming! Especially loved reading about the variety of positions Dr. Kinney has held over a long term of service. Very inspiring!

  2. Ms. Kinney. I really enjoyed reading your story. I am also a fan of Henry Louis Gates’ PBS program “Finding Your Roots.” My mother was a big fan of tracing her lineage, but she passed away before we knew about his show. I now have her scrapbook and was able to see a picture of my 3 great grandparents!!! I would love to learn more and will. I was very happy to read your story.

  3. Dear Angela, thank you for your continued service. Your career and contributions are great role models. I am glad that you followed your passion. May God continue to bless you.

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