Graduate returns to steer UCT Libraries

28 November 2011
Full circle: Gwenda Thomas is the new ED of UCT Libraries.
Full circle: Gwenda Thomas is the new ED of UCT Libraries.

It's full circle for alumna Gwenda Thomas, who returned to the university on 1 November to take the reins as executive director of UCT Libraries from Joan Rapp.

Up until her UCT appointment, Thomas had been director of Library Services at Rhodes University.

Prior to that, she held the position of general manager and director in a higher education and library consortium, the Foundation of Tertiary Institutions of the Northern Metropolis (FOTIM) and its library project, the Gauteng and Environs Library Consortium, made up of eleven institutional and library members across three provinces in South Africa.

For the greater part of her professional career, she held senior management positions in the Department of Library Services at the University of South Africa (UNISA), in different capacities between 1990 and 2000.

Asked about her new challenge, Thomas said: "It is the start of a new chapter in my career and I consider it to be a privilege and a wonderful opportunity. Having completed my undergraduate studies and my librarianship training at UCT, it feels familiar. While the university has changed, the integrity and feel of the institution are the same."

It's been an eventful start to her UCT career. Thomas attended a retreat with the university's Senior Leadership Group - "a wonderful opportunity to hear their vision and strategy" - as well as the recent lecture in Jameson Hall by Prince Charles, ahead of COP17.

"With the UCT choir performing so magnificently and the walk out onto the Jameson steps afterwards, looking out on the campus and the mountain, I realised what a privilege it is to be back."

Thomas looks forward to taking the "excellent work" of her predecessor further and to making a significant difference over the next decade.

Apart from their shared interests as librarians, Rapp and Thomas share a passion for dogs - Thomas has a Toy Pomeranian and a miniature French poodle.

A keen road runner, she also can't wait to join a running club and is determined to complete the one marathon that "eludes" her, the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon.

As a passionate gardener, she looks forward to getting a garden going in her new home in Cape Town.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.