James Ritter Named New Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist

James Ritter Named New Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Secretary of State Tre Hargett announces James Ritter has been selected as the next Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist. Ritter, who served as the State Librarian of Maine for the last eight years, started his new position on July 25, 2022.

The State Librarian and Archivist directs operations at the Tennessee State Library & Archives, a division of the Department of State. To preserve Tennessee's history for current and future generations, the Library & Archives collects and preserves books, records and other documents of historical and reference value, focusing on items about Tennessee and Tennesseans.

The Library & Archives also operates the Tennessee Regional Library System, which provides training and support for public libraries across Tennessee and oversees the Library for Accessible Books & Media, which offers free library services for Tennesseans with disabilities.

"I am proud to welcome Mr. Ritter as our new State Librarian and Archivist," said Secretary Hargett. “We are fortunate to have someone with his extensive skill set and admirable background to fill this position. I am confident that Mr. Ritter will provide a clear vision and leadership for the State Library & Archives, and he will build on the solid foundation laid by his predecessors."

Ritter joined the Maine State Library in 2012 and was selected to be the State Librarian of Maine in 2014. Prior to that, he served as the Deputy Director of the Camden Public Library in Camden, Maine. Ritter currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and has worked extensively with the Maine Library Commission to develop and advocate for legislation to improve Maine’s public libraries. Ritter earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Delaware and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science and a Master of Science in Organizational Creativity and Innovation from Drexel University.

“I am excited to join the incredible team at the Tennessee State Library & Archives, and it’s an honor to be part of a wonderful organization that serves all Tennesseans,” said Ritter. “The investment and the trust that has been placed in the Library & Archives is evident, and I look forward to contributing to the tradition of providing great library and archival services to the people of Tennessee.”

Ritter will replace Charles Sherrill, who retired from the post after 12 years as State Librarian and Archivist.

The Library & Archives is located at 1001 Rep. John Lewis Way N. on the northeast corner of Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park in Nashville. The Library & Archives lobby featuring interactive exhibits highlighting the state's most precious historical documents is open to the public Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. The library, microfilm and manuscripts reading rooms are open for research Tuesday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT.

To learn more about the Library & Archives or to make a research appointment, call 615-741-2764, email ask@tsla.libanswers.com or visit sos.tn.gov/tsla.