Staff Profile: Danianne Mizzy


Who she is: Danianne Mizzy, associate university librarian.

What she does: I’m part of the library executive group, where I contribute vision and leadership to the development and management of designated library collections, services, and spaces that support the Cornell community. More specifically, my portfolio covers public services and access services, but one of the really exciting things about being a part of the leadership team of Cornell University Library is our holistic approach. We have areas of emphasis and specific portfolios, but we work very closely together to shape a library for the 21st century.

Why it’s important: At no time in my career have I felt more strongly about the value of supporting liberal arts education, helping students to be critical thinkers, robust questioners, and truth seekers, and supporting faculty, staff, and students in evidence-based research. The Council on Library and Information Resources’ Deepening Resolve statement really resonates with me: “… to advance the creation, organization, and distribution of knowledge, by fostering imaginative leadership and cross-sector coherence in technology, cultural heritage, and higher education. Our investment has never been more vital, in efforts to create new cohorts of leaders, augment our community’s scholarly and technical expertise, and make primary materials safe and broadly accessible for research and teaching.”

Where she’s from: I was born and raised in Manhattan but with time in, and ties to, New England, the Midwest, and, most recently, North Carolina. 

Education: I did my undergraduate work at Brown University, where I majored in international relations with a focus on Latin America, but I was also very interested in theater, so I went on and got a master of fine arts in design from the Yale School of Drama. I then got my master of library and information science from the University of Pittsburgh.

Background: My important influences include the New York Public Library, Camp Treetops’ approach to progressive and wilderness education, being immersed in the global community of the United Nations International School, and the collaborative, creative approach of a theatrical design team working with a director to achieve a shared vision.

How long at Cornell: Three weeks.

Best part of her job: I have to say working with the amazing staff at CUL—and still having the opportunity to help individual students. Just recently, I printed an I-9 form for a new student who was excited to work for the Library but stopped by our HR department after hours. Public service happens all over, including hallways and Wegmans!

What she’s most proud of: I hope it’s still to come. For now, in addition to my two amazing daughters, I’m proud of lighting August Wilson’s play Fences at the Yale Repertory Theater and ultimately taking it to Broadway in my first career as a theatrical lighting designer. As a librarian, I’m proud of being a founding member of the University of North Carolina’s BeAM (Be a Maker) network of makerspaces and helping to bring design thinking and hands-on experiential learning through fabrication to UNC, first through the Kenan Science Library’s Makerspace and then through the current five-year campus-wide undergraduate education plan

In her spare time: I enjoy walking my dogs, hiking, sailing, looking forward to gardening where I don’t have to amend clay, and reading and watching speculative fiction.

Dream job: I would love to be the librarian for Semester at Sea, but just for a semester. Too much great work to do here!