SLIS alum Ann Thornton appointed director of NY libraries

Ann Thornton, who earned her master’s in Library and Information Studies at Florida State in 1994, has been named director of the New York Public Libraries, the largest public library system in the world.

She will be responsible for collection development, preservation, reference and research services, and exhibitions at four world-renowned research libraries and 87 branch libraries.

Ms. Thornton has been at the NYPL since 1996 and has held positions as the Assistant Director of Electronic Resources, the Associate Director of the Humanities and Social Sciences Library and Director of Reference and Research Services.

Her official title is The Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries. Most recently, she was acting director, having moved into that position when former director David Ferriero was named Archivist of the United States in 2009. She was a key architect of the One Library Strategy, which  included a new catalog for both circulating and non-circulating material, and she oversaw the launch of Job Search Central at the Science, Industry and Business Library.

“In her 15-plus years at NYPL, Ann has established herself as a paragon of collegiality and a leader promoting the highest standards of excellence,” Library President Anthony Marx said. “She has done a superb job as the acting Andrew W. Mellon director, leading with her signature grace, authority, and wide-ranging expertise.

“The important steps she has taken in moving the Library forward in collection-sharing have been especially notable: opening up the collections and making them more accessible both physically and digitally to record numbers of users, developing formal partnerships with NYU and Columbia University, and developing the HathiTrust collaborations.

“She is recognized as an authority for libraries everywhere on a myriad of topics ranging from library-use instruction to e-books and the Internet in libraries, and we are proud to name her the Library’s Andrew W. Mellon Director,” Marx said.

In addition to her FSU graduate degree,  Thornton has a BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Early in her career, she served as a systems librarian at the University of Houston Libraries, and more recently, she was a Research Libraries Leadership Fellow in a program sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries.

“I’m deeply honored to be named Andrew W. Mellon Director,” Ms. Thornton said. “The New York Public Library has a deeply committed and talented staff, and I never stop learning from them.  I am excited about the incredible opportunities we have to serve users better as a destination – both onsite and online – that facilitates learning and the development of new ideas, scholarship, products, businesses, and works of art.”