Familiar figure assumes permanent role as dean of CWU Libraries

  • October 2, 2023
  • Rune Torgersen

After an extensive national search, Sydney Thompson has been chosen as the new dean of Central Washington University Libraries.

Thompson has been serving as interim dean since July 2022 and she looks forward to stepping more fully into the leadership position.

“There’s a lot of incredible work that we get to do, and the timing is great,” Thompson said. “With the new Strategic Plan in place, we can further define what makes CWU Libraries special, and provide even greater services to our students.”

Thompson is a Washington native who has a varied education in aviation and sociology, and ultimately found her passion for libraries as a library student employee while studying at the New School. She then attended Queens College in New York, where she earned her master’s degree in library sciences. After serving as North Carolina State University Libraries department head for Access Services, she found her next calling close to home when her nephew decided to attend CWU.

“I first visited CWU with my nephew, who was attending for the Aviation program,” said Thompson, who grew up in Kent “Every student, staff, and faculty member we spoke to was super helpful and friendly, the campus was gorgeous, and we just had the best visit. I was so excited knowing that he was going to be in a great place, where he could just reach out and ask for help whenever he needed it. Not long after that, I saw the position of Associate Dean of Libraries open up here, and I knew I had to apply.”

As dean, Thompson plans to leverage CWU Libraries’ strong partnerships across campus to promote accessible information, affordable course materials, and a strong slate of library programming designed to help students become familiar with the broad variety of resources at their disposal.

“It’s invigorating to be at an academic library where our librarians can get in classes, engage with students, and help promote information literacy,” she said. “Helping people access CWU Libraries and get the most out of our recourses is high on my list of priorities, and I think we have an incredible opportunity to further our work in that department.”

Provost Michelle DenBeste said Thompson’s proven leadership skills and commitment to the student experience will continue to be an asset to CWU Libraries, and the university as a whole.

“Sydney has shown leadership in working with faculty and staff to think about textbook costs to students, she is passionate about ensuring the library is serving the needs of the campus community, and she has experience in several different types of libraries,” DenBeste said. “I look forward to continuing to work with Sydney in her new role.”

 

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