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Announcing the New University Librarian and Dean of Libraries at UIC

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

I am pleased to announce that Professor Rhea Ballard-Thrower will become the new University Librarian and Dean of Libraries at the University of Illinois Chicago, effective February 1, 2021, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Rhea Ballard-Thrower is currently the Executive Director of the Howard University Library System, which includes Founders Library, the Undergraduate Library and Moorland-Spingarn Archives. Ballard-Thrower is a tenured professor at the Law School at Howard University where she teaches Advanced Legal Research and instructs incarcerated college students as part of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Institute. She began her career in 1989 as a reference librarian at the University of Texas School of Law Tarlton Law Library and subsequently held the position of Associate Director at the Georgia State University College of Law Library prior to her appointment at Howard University. Ballard-Thrower has a Master of Information and Library Studies from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law.

As the Executive Director for the Howard University Library System, Ballard-Thrower has worked to develop programming and synergy between the University Libraries, Health Sciences Library and the Law Library. She has initiated literacy sessions with three Washington D.C. high schools to expose high school students to collegiate-level research. Ballard-Thrower led the digitization of 66,000 bibliographic records from the Moorland-Spingarn collection, a collection of scholarly materials by and about people of African descent, and she secured a grant to support the continued digitization of other collections at Howard University.

I extend my gratitude to the Chair of the search committee, Dean Astrida Tantillo, along with the committee for their excellent work. I also thank and acknowledge Dr. Karen Colley for her tremendous dedication and energy, serving as Interim Dean of Libraries since August while continuing as Dean of the Graduate College.


Susan Poser
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

For more information, please contact:
Kelcie O’Shea