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  • Writer's pictureDawn Smith

Herndon Named Curator of de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection

Photograph, headshot, of Karlie Herndon

University Libraries at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is pleased to announce the appointment of Karlie Herndon as the curator of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection.

Herndon is well acquainted with USM and the de Grummond Collection. She was a student employee for two summers and completed a practicum as well as an internship that allowed her to spend time in the Collection, developing skills in archival processing and creating research guides. She returned to USM in August of 2022 as the assistant curator, and in June of 2023, was named interim curator, following the retirement of Ellen Ruffin.

“I’m stepping into a line of curators who have championed the de Grummond Collection, children’s literature, and so much more that is vital to so many fields. Becoming curator means shouldering a responsibility that feels both light and heavy: light because I am so passionate about the work we do here, and heavy because de Grummond represents excellence in children’s literature curation, preservation, and scholarship, and I plan to maintain that reputation,” says Herndon.

The de Grummond Collection is home to over 1,400 collections of original manuscripts, illustrations, and correspondence from authors and illustrators that include Randolph Caldecott, John Newbery, Kate Greenaway, H.A. and Margret Rey, and Ezra Jack Keats. De Grummond also includes valuable collections that might be less prominent, and as curator, Herndon plans to highlight these materials.

“Everyone’s life has been somehow touched by children’s literature, and I want the local community to know what a treasure of memory, discovery, and inspiration sits right here on USM’s campus,” Herndon said. She intends to continue to increase local and in-state exposure to de Grummond while continuing to strengthen its national and international connections.

Herndon is currently completing her PhD from USM in English literature, specializing in children’s literature. She obtained a B.A. in English (creative writing) and a B.S. in psychology from Virginia Tech. She earned a Master of Library and Information Science, with a graduate certificate in archives and special collections, from USM, and her M.A in English from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Her professional affiliations include memberships in the Children’s Literature Association, American Library Association, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Society of American Archivists, and Society of Mississippi Archivists.

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