4 April 2007
Dr Sarah Thomas, the newly appointed Bodley’s Librarian and Director of University Library Services, has been awarded the 2007 Melvil Dewey Medal. The prize is given every year by the American Library Association (ALA) and recognizes distinguished service to the profession of librarianship.
The award is presented to an individual or group for recent creative leadership of high order, particularly in the fields in which Melvil Dewey was actively interested: library management, library training, cataloguing and classification, and the tools and techniques of librarianship.
The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Dr John Hood, said: ‘Dr Thomas has just joined Oxford University as the first woman and first non-British person to hold the historic title of Bodley’s Librarian. The awarding of the Melvil Dewey Medal and the associated recognition by her peers show that Oxford can be proud to have one of the most distinguished members of the library profession leading our library provision in the 21st century.’
The Dewey jury recognized Dr Sarah Thomas’s significant achievements over the past two decades of professional service. Before coming to Oxford, she served as the University Librarian at Cornell University Library for more than ten years. In this position, she developed the Library Gateway; Project Euclid, an online publishing service supporting 50 journals in maths and statistics; and DPubS, an open-source publishing service. While at the Library of Congress she led the establishment of the Program for Cooperative Cataloguing (PCC), an initiative to increase the availability of authoritative bibliographic records internationally. The PCC draws its strength from the contributions of hundreds of institutions working in collaboration with the Library of Congress.
Dr Thomas is an active life member of the American Library Association and a former president of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). She received her PhD from Johns Hopkins University, an MS from Simmons College, Graduate School of Library and Information Science and an AB from Smith College. She is a noted author, speaker, and consultant.
The Melvil Dewey Medal was first given in 1975. Melvil Dewey (1851–1931) was the ‘father of modern librarianship’ and the creator of the Dewey Decimal Classification System. Dewey created the system in 1873 and it is now in use in more than 135 countries. The Melvil Dewey Award will be presented to Dr Thomas on Tuesday 26 June 2007, during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC.