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AUTHOR: Libby Smigel

Elizabeth (“Libby”) Smigel, dance curator and archivist, joined the Music Division of the Library of Congress in 2015. Smigel’s education includes earning a master’s degree and doctorate in drama and theater at University of Toronto; the master of fine arts in dance at York University; and the certificate in theater and dance along with the bachelor’s degree in Classics/ancient Greek at Princeton University. Formerly executive director of Dance Heritage Coalition (2009-2015), she headed grants designed to safeguard and share dance legacies of the United States, projects that included developing strategies to digitize archival materials and recordings for access and long-term preservation. Developing sustainable legacy activities for the dance field, she headed the development of the “Artist’s Legacy Toolkit” and established a set of three digitization hubs in major cities where obsolete-format video recordings were digitized. Addressing the challenges of the multiple kinds of intellectual property rights embedded in the creation of dance, Smigel worked with Professor Peter Jaszi, J.D., on a fair use project that resulted in the first published statement of fair use in performing arts: Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use of Dance-related Materials: Recommendations for Librarians, Archivists, Curators, and Other Collections Staff (2009). She also obtained multi-year funding for collaborative projects: one trained early-career librarians in approaches best suited to archiving performing arts collections; another coordinated the organization and access to unprocessed collections at six member libraries. Smigel is also a scholar and teacher, having spent about 20 years teaching dance, theater, and literature in colleges and universities in North America. She is an associate editor of the Journal of American Culture.

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