Ann D. Thornton Appointed University Librarian and Vice Provost

May 01, 2015

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:
I am pleased to announce my appointment of Ann D. Thornton as University Librarian and Vice Provost.  Columbia’s university library system is one of the very finest in the world and essential to all of our academic endeavors.  Ann will assume responsibility for this invaluable resource after almost two decades of service at the New York Public Library, where she currently is the Andrew W. Mellon Director.  The appointment is effective June 1.
Columbia’s library system encompasses the most advanced digital technology available for accessing scholarly sources and archival collections of astonishing scope and depth.  Ann’s broad experience is ideally suited to the task of harnessing this vast cultural resource, expanding our collections, and enhancing their value over time.  At the New York Public Library, she held leadership positions in the sciences and business, as well as the humanities and social sciences, and she has been responsible for every facet of collecting, preserving, and presenting the assets of a world-class research library.
At the direction of University Provost John Coatsworth and with guidance from the reconstituted Provost’s Committee on the Libraries and Information Services, Ann will be helping to integrate the academic priorities of our schools and departments with the activities of the University library system.  Strengthening channels for student input also will be a focus of their collective efforts.
I want to thank the committee led by Provost Coatsworth that conducted the search to fill this important post.  I also want to recognize Associate University Librarian Damon Jaggars for serving so ably as Interim University Librarian during this period since Jim Neal’s retirement.
The heart of a world-class university is research and teaching, and the core competency for conducting that work resides in our libraries.  We are fortunate at Columbia to have a library system that is not only an academic treasure for students and scholars, but also a dynamic center for our wider culture’s collective memory.  Please join me in welcoming Ann Thornton to the Columbia community and in congratulating her on her appointment as the steward of this great resource.

Lee C. Bollinger