He will succeed Khalil Gibran Muhammad in the late fall. Muhammad was the director of the center since 2011 and left to teach at Harvard University, a release said.
Young, who currently teaches creative writing and English at Emory University, was selected after a months-long search by library officials.
“I am both honored and humbled to be entrusted with the directorship of the Schomburg Center,” Young said.
Young has been called “one of the most important poets of his generation” and has published 11 books and edited 8 others. Much of his work explored themes of the black experience.
The center is a part of the New York City Public Library System and located at 515 Malcolm X Blvd.
Schomburg is known for its extensive and rare collections detailing the history of black culture. In 2015, it won the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.
Young has been the curator of several poetry libraries, including the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, a 75,000-volume collection of rare and modern poetry, a release said.
Library officials said Young would continue the center’s efforts to secure rare collections of African American history.
“As a scholar, curator, organization leader, and writer, Kevin is uniquely qualified to both expand and make more accessible the Schomburg’s irreplaceable, relevant, and important collections,” said New York Public Library President Tony Marx.
Young has also racked up a number of awards and honors, including membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellowships at the Guggenheim Museum and National Endowment for the Arts.
He has also taught at Princeton, Indiana University and Beloit College. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times and The American Scholar.