The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees has appointed Charles F. Thomas as dean of Hunter Library. Thomas will start in his new position effective July 1.
“Mr. Thomas’ experience in academic libraries, at a premier funding agency and at a major consortium, provide unique perspectives to this important leadership position,” said Provost Richard D. Starnes. “He will work closely with the Hunter Library faculty and staff to meet the contemporary challenges facing libraries, and develop innovative approaches to maintain the library’s essential position within our campus community.”
Thomas comes to WCU from the University System of Maryland & Affiliated Institutions Library Consortium, which includes all of Maryland’s public universities, as well as other libraries. He has worked as the USMAI executive director for the past eight years. In that position, he managed a team that provides shared technologies, electronic information resources, and training programs to 17 academic libraries. Thomas also successfully led strategic planning exercises and development of annual work plans and budgets, while also representing the academic libraries at regional and state events.
Under his leadership, the consortium established new relationships with external partners such as the Digital Public Library of America, the National Information Standards Organization, the Chicago-based Center for Research Libraries, and other groups.
Thomas completed all doctoral program work and exams in Florida State University’s School of Information Studies program. He received his master’s degree in Library Information and Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his bachelor’s degree in history from Loyola University. Thomas has received several honors, including two Fulbright Senior Specialist Awards where he worked with international governments on designing national cultural digitization libraries. He also published more than 11 papers in peer-reviewed and refereed journals and published many others in conference proceedings.
Hunter Library serves the curricular and research needs of WCU students, faculty and staff, while encouraging academic success, fostering critical thinking and enriching the community. The library fulfills this mission by providing access to information, offering research and instruction services, and preserving the intellectual, environmental, and cultural heritage of the university and the region.