Heather Topcik is Dean and Director of Libraries for Bard College and Director of Research Collections for the Bard Graduate Center. Since earning dual master’s degrees in library science and art history from Pratt Institute in 2000, she has worked to investigate and advance the role of libraries as centers of academic, artistic, and civic life, with a focus on engaging a diverse constituency of patrons in the generative practice of research. As Chief Librarian at BGC since 2004, she has collaborated with faculty to develop and adapt collections to evolving curricula and design a program of bibliographic instruction to support graduate researchers. Under her direction, the library’s collection has grown from 24,000 volumes to nearly 75,000 reflecting the interdisciplinary scope of the institution’s teaching and research. In addition to initiating and overseeing the development of Blacklight, a custom discovery tool built on open- source software, she spearheaded the integration of BGC’s object collection into the library’s search interface along with the creation of an archive documenting the institution’s exhibition history. In 2017, she created the BGC library’s artist-in-residence program, inviting visual and performing artists whose practice is grounded in research to use the library collection as a resource and incubator for new work.
Prior to joining Bard Graduate Center as a research librarian in 2001, she began her library career at the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She served as chair of the Art Libraries Society of North America from 2015–2017. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s in art history before going on to study textiles and fiber arts at the Oregon School of Arts & Crafts.