Mary Augusta Thomas

Research Services
Deputy Director

As Deputy Director of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL), Ms. Thomas directs the operation of twenty libraries located in each of the Smithsonian’s museums and research institutes and guides SIL's strategic planning, administrative services and collections management.

Ms. Thomas began her career in the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology at the Smithsonian in 1976. She later served as assistant to the Director for Resource Development, Manager Planning and Administration and as the Assistant Director, Management and Technical Services, for the Libraries before beginning her most recent assignment. In 1999, Ms. Thomas received the Smithsonian Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Equal Opportunity.

Professional commitments include serving as a member of the ALA Publishing Committee and as a member of the IFLA Knowledge Management Section standing committee.  She is currently a member of the pORTAL: Libraries and the Academy Editorial Advisory Board. She served two terms as Councilor-at-large for the American Library Association, including serving as chair of the ALA Resolutions Committee. Ms. Thomas is a Past President, District of Columbia Library Association, and former chair of the DCLA Awards committee. She received the DCLA Distinguished Service Award in 2001. Elected a rotating member of the Federal Libraries and Information Centers coordinating committee (FLICC), Ms. Thomas also served as co-chair of the FLICC Library of Congress Bicentennial Working Group.

At the Smithsonian, Ms. Thomas serves on the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee and the Steering Committee for Collections Space. From 2010 to 2014, Ms. Thomas chaired the SI Forum on Material Culture and remains on the steering committee. In 2014, the Forum presented her with an award in appreciation of her leadership and service.

Her publications include: Information Imagineering: Meeting at the Interface (edited with Milton Wolfe and Pat Ensor, ALA Editions, 1998) and An Odyssey in Print: Adventures in Smithsonian Libraries (March 2002). In 2008 and 2009, she served on the selection committee for Chesapeake Crimes III and IV, an anthology of local mystery writers. Ms. Thomas curated of An Odyssey in Print: Adventures in Smithsonian Libraries on display at the National Museum of American History from May 2002 December 2003. En earlier version entitled Voyages was in New York City at the Grolier Club, in 2001.

Ms. Thomas graduated cum laude from Mount Holyoke College and read Medieval Studies at the University of York, England. Her M.S.L.S. was granted in May 1978 from The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. A member of IOTA chapter of Beta Phi Mu, she was a Senior Fellow, Council on Library Resources at the University California, Los Angeles in 1985. In 2009, Ms. Thomas completed the first Senior Leadership Development program at the Smithsonian.