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Harvard College Library News: News from around the libraries

Sarah Thomas elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

  American Academy of Arts and Sciences

By Beth Giudicessi, HCL Communications

May 5, 2014–Vice President for the Harvard Library and Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Sarah Thomas was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent research in science, technology, global security, social policy and the humanities.

“This is an honor for the Harvard Library as well as for all librarians,” Thomas said. “It is not just an individual distinction. I have benefited from the wisdom and values of my library colleagues through many decades.”

The Academy elected 204 new members in 2014, including 16 from Harvard University – the most of any single institution. Other members include Academy founders John Adams, James Bowdoin, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, as well as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Maria Mitchell, Alexander Graham Bell, Barbara McClintock, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Martha Graham and Georgia O’Keefe. Foreign members have included Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, John Maynard Keynes and Nelson Mandela. Among the Academy’s current Fellows are more than 250 Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners and library leaders James Billington and Sanjay Subrahmanyan from the Library of Congress, Werner Gundersheimer from the Folger Shakespeare Library, Steven Koblik from the Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens, Anthony Marx and Jean Strouse from the New York Public Library and Jan Ziolkowski from Harvard’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library.  

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Thomas joined Harvard’s libraries in August 2013, when she was appointed vice president for the Harvard Library. Just over a month later, Thomas was appointed to oversee all FAS libraries. Prior to these positions, she spent six years as director of the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University.

In her first nine months at Harvard, Thomas has worked to achieve closer coordination among libraries, while maintaining the individual identity of each. She is leading the development of strategies and policies for the University’s libraries to improve access to knowledge and user services.

Thomas, along with other newly elected members to the Academy of Arts and Sciences, will be honored at an Induction weekend in Cambridge, Mass. in early October.