Nov. 13, 2006

Cornell University Librarian Sarah Thomas named to directorship of Oxford University's libraries

Cornell University Librarian Sarah Thomas will be leaving Cornell to become Bodley's Librarian and Director of University Library Services at Oxford University in England. Her appointment begins in February of 2007.

"Sarah Thomas has made extraordinary contributions to Cornell University, making our library one of the most forward-looking and service-oriented university libraries in the world," said Cornell Provost Biddy Martin. "Her departure is a great loss. It is also an honor for Sarah to have been recruited to the University of Oxford and a matter of pride for Cornell that another great institution looked here in its search for leadership. We will begin a search for Sarah's replacement right away, and we thank her for making Cornell's library one of the most appealing institutions for leaders in the world of libraries."

At Oxford, Thomas will be responsible for integrating key libraries into a cohesive whole, advancing the development of digital library programs, and overseeing renovation and construction of almost $250 million in facilities.

The Oxford University Library Services includes the main research library, the Bodleian. It is also a copyright deposit library, and its collections are used by scholars from around the world. The Bodleian consists of nine other libraries: the Bodleian Japanese Library, the Bodleian Law Library, the Hooke Library, the Indian Institute Library, the Oriental Institute Library, the Philosophy Library, the Radcliffe Science Library, the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House, and the Vere Harmsworth Library, and more than a dozen more specialized libraries.

Thomas came to Cornell in August 1996 from the Library of Congress, where she held positions overseeing the library's public services, special collections and cataloging directorate. During the past 10 years, the Cornell University Library has consistently emerged at the top of university services in senior surveys, studies of service quality in research libraries and in the recent Faculty Work-Life Survey.

Under Thomas' leadership, the library has continued to build its rare and special collections and recently added a distinguished Native American collection. The library also has embraced the digital age, developing a suite of online services and offering 24-hour worldwide access to a rich array of online journals and other electronic media.

Thomas is the principal force behind Project Euclid, a Mellon Foundation-funded initiative to support the cost-effective online dissemination of mathematics and statistics journals.

Thomas has served on the executive board of the Association of Research Libraries for six years and was its president in 2004-05. She also has chaired the Digital Library Federation Steering Committee and been a member of the board of the Research Libraries Group.

A 1970 graduate of Smith College, Thomas holds a Master of Science degree in library science from Simmons College and a Ph.D. in German literature from Johns Hopkins University.