Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas

Vice President for the Harvard Library and University Librarian; Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Widener Library

Sarah Thomas joined Harvard as vice president for the Harvard Library in August 2013. In this role, she has overall responsibility for the Harvard Library in close collaboration with the Library Board, the Faculty Advisory Council and the Library Leadership Team. Thomas also serves as the University Librarian and the Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Thomas previously served as Bodley’s Librarian and director of the Bodleian Libraries—the first woman and non-British citizen to hold the position—as well as pro-vice-chancellor and member of the faculty of modern languages at the University of Oxford. Previous to Oxford, Thomas was the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian at Cornell. She served as the president of the Association of Research Libraries, and also held posts at the Library of Congress, where she led in the establishment of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, the National Agricultural Library, the Research Libraries Group at Stanford University and Harvard’s Widener Library, among other positions.

Thomas’ publications include “The Bod Squad” in Transforming the Bodleian (2012), “The Encouragement of Learning” in Copyright in the Digital Age (2010), “Publishing Solutions for Contemporary Scholars” in Library HiTech (2010) and “Advancing Scholarship Through Library Collaboration” in Die Innovative Bibliothek: Elmar Mittler zum 65 (2005).

Some of Thomas’ recent and upcoming presentations include “E-books, Horseless Carriages and the Future of Libraries” at the Royal Danish Library, “A Conversation with Hilary Mantel” at the Times Oxford Literary Festival, “National Library Perspectives on the Past, Present and Future of the Book” at the Library of Congress and “The Bodleian: England’s First National Library Evolves in the 21st Century” at the Ex Libris National Library Meeting.

Under Thomas’ leadership, the Bodleian Libraries were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the excellence of their collections and their efforts to widen access to their historic collections. During her tenure with Cornell, the Cornell University Library received the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries.

Thomas was elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society and received the Melvil Dewey Award from the American Library Association, the Smith Medal from Smith College and the Alumni Achievement Award from Simmons College. She is a also member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Thomas holds a BA from Smith College, an MSLIS from Simmons College and a PhD in German literature from Johns Hopkins University.

Thomas also served on the Harvard University Library Overseers’ Committee and is currently a member of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Board, the Oxford Limited Board, the Research Libraries UK Board, the Smith College President’s Council and the University of Cambridge Board of Electors for the University Libraries. She is a member of the Grolier Club and a life member of the American Library Association.