New director of Special Collections begins

The College of William and Mary welcomed Gerald “Jay” Gaidmore as the Marian & Alan McLeod director of the Special Collections Research Center at Swem Library on July 1.

A former Virginia resident, Gaidmore comes to W&M from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he served as university archivist and head of University Archives and Records Management Services. Prior to his position at UNC, he was the university archivist at Brown University, where he led the Manuscripts and University Archives division of the Special Collections department.

“Jay Gaidmore brings with him a deep desire to be back in Virginia, and solid experience leading digital projects and building campus relationships,” said Carrie Cooper, dean of University Libraries for W&M. “We are thrilled to have him on our team as we strategize to make William & Mary’s unique collections increasingly visible and accessible to scholars worldwide.”

Gaidmore began his library career as a graduate student at Old Dominion University, serving as project archivist and Special Collections coordinator for the university’s library. After completing his graduate studies, he joined the Library of Virginia as its private papers archivist. While there, he served in several positions including senior finding aids description archivist and private papers program manager.

Gaidmore has a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of South Carolina and a master’s in history from Old Dominion University.

As director of Special Collections, Gaidmore will lead a team of six full-time and two part-time staff members, over 20 undergraduate and graduate students, and numerous volunteers. Gaidmore is responsible for departmental budget management, planning and policy development, collection development and the expansion of digital initiatives.

“This job is a dream opportunity for me,” said Gaidmore. “I have very fond memories of using Swem’s special collections while a graduate student at Old Dominion University. The staff here treated me with respect and I have never forgotten that. The collections are great and I am very happy to be back in Virginia, working for a great institution like William & Mary and Swem Library.”

The 25,000 square foot Special Collections wing of Swem Library houses over 1 million manuscripts, more than 45,000 rare books, university archives and other materials. Special Collections staff work closely with faculty and students to ensure primary resources are part of the student research experience.