Shelton replaces George Smith, who was acting director for the past two years and was deputy director of the division since 1985.
"Kay Shelton is a solid member of the State Library system with a long record of excellence and dedication to conserving, preserving and making available the valuable materials that record our state's history," said Sampson. "She will provide excellent leadership and stability for the State Libraries, Archives and Museums."
Shelton has been the chief historical librarian since 1987, responsible for print and other materials, maps, manuscripts, photographs and other print and non-print historical materials from Alaska and other polar regions. She was also head of the library's public services section.
Shelton started her library career in 1965 in Boston, MA, and came to Alaska in 1975. She was an associate professor of Library Science with the University of Alaska in Juneau in the 1970s. Before joining the State Library in 1987, Shelton was a legislative reference librarian for the Alaska Legislative Affairs Agency and an archivist for the Alaska State Archives.
The department will conduct a search for a permanent division director in the spring.