Meet John Miles, Curator of Books

John Miles has joined LSU Libraries Special Collections as Associate Librarian, Curator of Books and Head of Instruction Services. Miles previously worked as a professional-in-residence in Special Collections from 2015-2016.

Miles returned to Special Collections because he is both drawn to the stories told by each one of the books here, as well as to the larger mission of the libraries and the role of Special Collections’ instruction in making the argument for the vitality of that mission. Miles says he looks forward to his new job here for how it allows him to evangelize for scholarship across disciplinary boundaries and to a diverse group of students and professors.

In terms of the collections, Miles hopes to continue the stewardship of curators who came before him, while still looking for new ways to expand holdings and new areas in which to collect.

“…there is certainly a grave responsibility that comes with caring for the material objects that have been held and passed on by so many different writers, scientists, artists, readers, and owners,” Miles says.

In terms of teaching, Miles plans to continue to integrate Special Collections into the pedagogical mission of the University and to make the Special Collections in Hill Memorial Library not only a place of specialized research, but also of dynamic teaching.

“The collections that we have here and the opportunities that they hold to transform students’ classroom experience is unique to LSU, and I hope that we can use the work we do to better make that case,” Miles says. Doing so will require continued expansion of our teaching program, both in terms of the number of classes taught as well as the different kinds of classes from across the disciplines, and in doing so Miles hopes to make the case again for how the libraries are at the heart of the University’s mission.

Originally from Danville, Kentucky, Miles earned his bachelor’s degree from Trinity University (Texas) in 1998, his master’s degree from the University of Arizona in 2002, and his PhD from Duke University in 2009.

Miles has two daughters and says his main hobby is longing for time enough to have hobbies. Still, he does try to get out for a bike ride on occasion. Miles is an avid reader, and his non-professional reading tastes tend toward contemporary American fiction and detective fiction, particularly British.

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