Sundstrand, an associate professor and the Manuscripts and Archives Librarian in the University Libraries’ Special Collections since 2001, recently returned from Washington, D.C. where she was sworn into office by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Stephen Breyer along with four other new appointees from across the nation. It was a trip filled with memorable moments.
“I was able to attend the ceremony for the 2013 winners of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service held at the White House,” Sundstrand said, where a “poised and warmly gracious” Michelle Obama gave out the awards. “Before the ceremony, all of the Museum and Library Service Board members had a group photo taken with her, and she shook each of our hands.”
There was, however, a bit of a twist during the swearing-in ceremony.
“Justice Breyer had to give us our oaths of office by raising his left hand as he had his right arm in a huge sling due to a very bad bicycle accident,” Sundstrand said.
She and her new fellow board members also enjoyed a tour of the courtroom in the Supreme Court building and learned about its history.
“All of this was so thrilling and not at all like any other board meeting I’ve had, or will have, and I pinched myself black and blue,” Sundstrand said.
During the regular meeting the following day, Sundstrand enjoyed meeting other board members and institute staff. The board is an advisory body that includes the director and deputy directors of the institute and 20 presidentially appointed members of the general public who have demonstrated expertise in, or commitment to, library or museum services. The board advises the institute director on general policy and practices and on selections for the National Medals for Museum and Library Service.
“I am so honored to be chosen to serve as a board member of the Institute of Museum and Library Services,” Sundstrand said. “I am glad to be given the chance to assist individuals and organizations in my profession as a librarian and archivist as well as those in the museum field on a national level. I look forward to the challenges ahead.”
Sundstrand had received a call from U.S. Senator Harry Reid’s office nearly a year ago informing her that she was being considered by the President for the position. Last fall she went through an extensive vetting process which took months and was finally notified of her nomination for a seat on the board in mid-April. She became official this month.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning and cultural and civic engagement through grants, policy development and research to help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.