January 23, 2022

Ann Thornton Appointed University Librarian and Vice Provost at Columbia University

Ann Thornton is leaving NYPL and moving to Columbia University where she will begin her job on June 1, 2015.

Here’s some of what the Columbia University Libraries shared in their announcement today:

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger today announced his appointment of Ann D. Thornton as the next University Librarian and Vice Provost. Thornton comes to Columbia after almost two decades at the New York Public Libraries, where she is the Andrew W. Mellon Director. The appointment is effective June 1.

“Columbia’s library system is a dynamic academic resource that is at the very core of our teaching and research missions,” Bollinger said. “Ann’s broad experience is ideally suited to the task of harnessing both digital technology and intellectual vision to expand our collections and enhance their long-term value not only to our university, but also to our society.”

Thornton has held a series of senior leadership positions at the New York Public Libraries, spanning the sciences, business, the humanities and social sciences. She has been responsible for collecting, preserving and presenting the institution’s vast collections. She has also helped lead in the areas of electronic resources, reference and research services and public training. Before coming to New York, she was a systems librarian with the University of Houston Libraries.

“Columbia’s libraries are among the finest in the world,” Thornton said. “I am truly honored by the opportunity to lead such a talented and dedicated staff and look forward to collaborating with faculty, students and the entire Columbia community to ensure the vitality of library collections and services into the future.”


Her tenure at the New York Public Libraries is especially relevant since Columbia and NYPL have well-established partnerships. These include the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium together with Princeton, the country’s largest offsite library shelving facility jointly owned and operated by the three institutions; and book-sharing programs that allow researchers to access the resources of both libraries, as well as that of New York University.

“I want to thank the committee led by Provost Coatsworth that conducted the search to fill this important post and recognize Associate University Librarian Damon Jaggars for serving so ably as Interim University Librarian during this period since Jim Neal’s retirement,” Bollinger said. “We look forward to welcoming Ann and working with her to further enhance the leadership of Columbia’s libraries not only as essential resources for our students and scholars, but as centers of cultural memory for our society.”

Read the Complete Announcement

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.