Ann Thornton is Vice Provost and University Librarian for Columbia University in the City of New York, where she is responsible for one of the top five academic research library systems in North America with world-class physical and digital collections and expert staff in support of research, teaching, and learning.
She came to Columbia in June 2015 after serving for nearly two decades at the New York Public Library, where she was most recently the Andrew W. Mellon Director, a position she held since 2012, with responsibility for research and reference services, collection development, preservation, fellowships, and exhibitions. Thornton’s previous roles at the New York Public Library included Director of Reference and Research Services, Associate Director for the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, and Assistant Director of Electronic Resources for the Science, Industry and Business Library.
Early in her career, Thornton served as a systems librarian at the University of Houston Libraries. She was a Leadership Fellow in a program sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries and subsequently served on the board of that organization. Additionally, Thornton has chaired the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation and has served on the New York State Education Department’s Board of Regents Advisory Council on Libraries and on the Council of Experts for the National Academic Library and Information Systems Foundation of Bulgaria. She currently serves as chair of the board of governors for the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium.