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Penn Libraries News

Mary Ellen Burd Hired as Director of Strategic Communications for Penn Libraries

Photograph of Mary Ellen Burd.

The Penn Libraries announces the appointment of Mary Ellen Burd as its inaugural Director of Strategic Communications. This position was established by Constantia Constantinou, H. Carton Rogers III Vice Provost and Director of Libraries, in consultation with the Penn Libraries Board of Overseers and the Libraries’ Leadership team. As Director of Strategic Communications, Burd will help define the Penn Libraries’ communications strategy and reinforce its brand identity via print communications, web content, and relationships with external entities.

“The introduction of a strategic communications director, and specifically having Mary Ellen in this role, will position the Penn Libraries to make our services, resources, and expertise more visible,” says Constantinou. “With Mary Ellen’s leadership, we will tell stories that express what the Penn Libraries contributes to the University and the world, strengthening relationships with those we are currently serving and inspiring others to engage with us.”

In her role, Burd supervises the development and operation of several areas critical to the Penn Libraries’ strategic vision, including content strategy for the Libraries’ website; print and digital publications; the production of promotional photography, videography, and graphic design; and media relations. As Director of Strategic Communications, Burd also serves as the primary contact for all external communications, and will conceptualize an integrated plan for Penn Libraries’ communications, marketing, and public relations strategies.

“I’m delighted to join the Penn Libraries,” says Burd. “Penn is a global leader among research institutions, and the Libraries represents the very best of what teaching, learning, and cultural organizations have to offer. I look forward to working with my colleagues to share these exceptional resources with the wider community at Penn and beyond.”

Prior to joining the Penn Libraries, Burd was the Director of Communications for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, an independent partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She also previously served as the Director of Communications for the Science History Institute, a Philadelphia-based cultural organization that features a public museum and the Othmer Library, which is currently the nation’s largest grantor of fellowships for research in the history of science. At both institutions, Burd spearheaded communications initiatives to focus institutional branding and increase audience engagement.

Burd has robust career experience in writing, editing, and publications across both academic and cultural domains, with past staff positions and project work with Columbia University Press, Henry Holt and Company, the Mary Baker Eddy Library, The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and RealArtWays. She earned her Master’s degree in English and American literature from Brandeis University and her Bachelor’s in English and American literature and religion studies from Muhlenberg College.