About

Polly ThistlethwaiteThe Library is a network, not simply a pile of books or a portal to journal subscriptions. To provide meaningful access to the world’s academic and cultural heritage, libraries must focus on resource-sharing, on making deeply informed referrals, and on stewarding a heritage that is widely representative, discoverable, and accessible. Open publishing must be at the center of scholarly practice.

Polly’s early career work with queer archives and AIDS activism primed her present-day advocacy for open, networked library access. She led initiatives to expand intra-CUNY borrowing in 2005 and to establish the CUNY Academic Works institutional repository in 2014.

In 2013-2015 Polly was co-PI of the JustPublics@365 project, with Prof. Jessie Daniels. The JustPublics@365 project engaged academics with social justice efforts using technology and social media. Polly and Jessie co-authored a book based on the project, Being a Scholar in the Digital Era, Policy Press, 2016.

Polly became Chief Librarian at the CUNY Graduate Center in 2011. She started at the Graduate Center in 2002 as Associate Librarian for Public Services. Before that she was Coordinator of Instruction at Colorado State University Libraries. She worked for CUNY Hunter College Library during the early 1990s and at New York University’s Bobst Library and Yale’s Cross Campus Library in the 1980s.

Polly earned a BS in Anthropology from the University of Illinois, followed by a year in grad school while clerking in the U of I’s Communications Library. She shifted her course to librarianship to earn an MS in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois in 1984. She has a 2nd MA in Liberal Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center, 1996.