Keeneland Library Director Ryder Retiring, Ferraro Named Successor

Becky Ryder (l) and Roda Ferraro | Kirk Schlea

Keeneland Library Director Becky Ryder will retire as of Oct. 31, 2023, following better than a decade at the helm of the Thoroughbred information repository and public research facility, and Roda Ferraro, who formerly served as Head Librarian at Keeneland Library and recently curated its popular The Heart of the Turf: Racing's Black Pioneers exhibit, has been named her successor. Ferraro will serve as the incoming Library Director effective immediately and will work alongside Ryder as she transitions to retirement this fall.

Ryder began her career as a college student working in the Music Library at the University of Virginia. She moved to Lexington for Library School at the University of Kentucky and soon became Head of Preservation Services at the UK Libraries, where she served for 18 years before joining Keeneland. Among the highlights of her tenure as Keeneland Library Director, Ryder oversaw the conversion of a manual card catalog into an online catalog system, which offered the opportunity to implement the Library of Congress shelving system. She initiated the Daily Racing Form Preservation Project while at the University of Kentucky, and with help from interns from UK's School of Information, Keeneland Library continued to make progress toward moving its extensive DRF collection online. Ryder established a framework for Keeneland's Digital Library and hopes to launch the collections by fall of 2023.

“During my career, I've had the good fortune to have had positions that I truly loved: music, books, photographs, travel, book and paper conservation, digital library development and the rich history of Thoroughbred racing,” said Ryder. “I have to say that the 13 years working with the Keeneland family have been the very best in my professional lifetime.”

In her new role, Ferraro brings more than 20 years of experience leading, assessing and promoting library, museum, research and educational services, highlighted by her work with Keeneland Library and the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York, since 2014.

“I am grateful to be back home at Keeneland Library,” Ferraro said. “I have connected the public, students and faculty to research and education services at several libraries, museums and universities, but I have never worked with patrons as dedicated and passionate as those I am privileged to engage with every day at Keeneland Library. It has been a joy to build relationships with industry and community partners over the past 10 years, and I look forward to cultivating new collaborative efforts with industry stakeholders as we move the Library forward.”

Said Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin: “Keeneland Library's role in preserving Thoroughbred racing's storied history and making it accessible to fans worldwide is incredibly important to Keeneland. Becky and Roda have both been dedicated stewards of this legacy, using technology, innovation and creativity to advance the Library's goal of being a true public service institution. We thank Becky for expertly guiding the Library through a decade of key expansion and preservation efforts and look forward to continued growth, particularly in education and outreach, under Roda's oversight.”

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