A West Virginia University alumnus who heads the acquisitions unit at the Library of Congress will return to her alma mater to help dedicate the new downtown library at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, in the library atrium.

Nancy Davenport, a 31-year veteran with America’s national library, will give the keynote speech during the dedication. Davenport began her career at WVU as a student worker, assisting patrons at the circulation desk in the Charles C. Wise Jr. Library.

WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. and Claire Houston, a student assistant in the downtown library’s reference department, will also speak during the ceremony.

The dedication will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the WVU Board of Regents accepting the newly completed University Library in what is now Stewart Hall, the school’s administrative building. A reception will follow the dedication on the building’s sixth floor.

Davenport earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from WVU in 1969 and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1971.

She was appointed director of acquisitions at the Library of Congress in December 1997 and held numerous posts within the library before that. She has been active in the American Library Association and is chair of the organization’s editorial board of the journal Library Administration and Management.

From 1990-96, Davenport helped train members, staff and librarians of fledgling democratic legislatures in Central and Eastern Europe in the use of technology and other information resources as part of the Frost/Solomon Task Force. She was also the first acting director of the newly created Library Distribution Services directorate.

“We’re thrilled to welcome back someone who got her start in the field of library science at WVU and went on to a high-level position in the nation’s premiere library,”said Frances O’Brien, WVU Libraries dean.”That Nancy has agreed to help us dedicate our new facility says a lot about her support for WVU and the quality of the University Libraries.”

WVU ’s new 124,000-square-foot downtown library opened Jan. 14 with the start of the spring semester. The five-floor building is adjacent to Wise Library, and the multistory atrium with a skylight joins the two buildings.

The library houses general book collections, reference materials, government documents, periodicals and a wealth of multimedia. Technology available to users includes 180 computers, 35 media-equipped workstations and 32 wireless laptops.

Hardesty said the new library has enhanced the educational experience of students, faculty and the general public since opening, providing a”first-rate facility for learning, research and development.”He lauded Provost Gerald Lang for his leadership on the project,”one that is crucial to a major research and land-grant university.”

With the completion of the new library, workers have commenced with a year-long renovation of Wise Library. Cost of the new library and renovations is $37 million.

The library is one of four projects included in the first phase of WVU ’s facilities master plan, a 10-year campus renewal program totaling more than $250 million. Other projects are a $26 million office complex the University has been leasing from the WVU Foundation since last June, a $34 million Student Recreation Center that opened last July and a $43 million Life Sciences Building scheduled to open in June.