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Note from Sarah Thomas: Library All-Staff Updates

September 14, 2013

Dear colleagues,

I will hold two all-staff meetings on Wednesday, September 18 to update staff members on current and future library activities. There will be an opportunity for questions, and staff members may also send questions and/or topic suggestions in advance to Jennifer Ward ( Both the 9–10am and 3–4pm sessions will be held in Askwith Hall on the first floor of Longfellow Hall at 13 Appian Way in Cambridge. Details on dialing in to a session will be shared early next week. A summary of the sessions will be posted online and included in the September 24 Library Update. These meetings are intended for library staff to come together, learn about projects under way, and hear about issues of importance for us, such as the Campaign for Harvard, which is being launched at the end of this week. 

Wednesday, September 18

Askwith Hall



I will also be hosting a welcome breakfast for staff from 8:45 to 10am on Wednesday, September 25 in the Lamont Library Forum Room. Please join me for informal conversation and coffee.

As you can see from the Library Updates, I have been out and about visiting libraries and meeting people. I've enjoyed the process very much, especially as I get to see the individual character of each space and the friendly and welcoming faces of the staff working in each place. 

Wednesday and Thursday I was in Washington, DC, where I attended an orientation for new ARL (Association of Research Libraries) directors. It was somewhat ironic as I first was a new library director in 1996 and I actually served as the president of ARL in 2004, but it turned out to be very valuable in connecting me with a large cohort of first-time directors. We had a morning talking about change with an architect who is now working with Georgetown envisaging the university of the future (2033). The discussion noted unprecedented change in our society and higher education, and the rapid and unceasing changes we now experience are the norm, rather than the way things were in the past, where you had a big change, such as the industrial revolution, followed by relative stability. Rather, it appears we should anticipate new developments and learn the skill of adapting. Easier said than done, perhaps, but worth thinking about.

I'll look forward to seeing many of you on Wednesday, and meeting many more of you as I continue on my library visits.


Sarah Thomas
Vice President for the Harvard Library