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Meet the Libraries' Leadership Team!

This post has been revised from its original content, which excluded a key member of the Libraries’ leadership team, Associate Dean Sandy Rodriguez, who took on significant additional responsibilities upon Dean Emerita Postlethwaite’s retirement. We would also like to acknowledge that many others in the library have taken on additional responsibilities in connection to the Dean’s retirement. The Libraries’ recent Call to Action asked for all of us to “Educate Yourself, Challenge Yourself and Challenge Each Other” so we acknowledge and apologize for this act of erasure. In order to redress this act, we have revised the post to more accurately reflect the full scope of changes in leadership.


With Dean Bonnie Postlethwaite’s retirement July 11th, the Libraries need strong, dedicated leadership from individuals committed to the same level of excellence and progress. Fortunately, the Libraries’ own Cindy Thompson, Sandy Rodriguez, and Nara Newcomer have answered that call.

 Though Cindy Thompson was just appointed Interim Dean of Libraries, she has a history of leadership at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s University Libraries. She began at UMKC in 2006 as the Interlibrary Loan Librarian and took on increasing responsibilities, most recently as Associate Dean of Services and Resources, until she attained her current position. As Dean, Cindy continues many of her former responsibilities, and additionally provides leadership and vision for the development and implementation of the University Libraries’ strategic future. A long-time Kansas City resident, Cindy received her PhD from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, her MA from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and her BA from William Jewell College. Her research interests lie with organizational structure and strategic change management, and she is President-Elect of the Missouri Library Association and chair of the UMKC Institutional Review Board. Cindy lives in Kansas City’s northland with her dashing husband and adorable children, loves spreadsheets (truly!), and bakes whenever she can.

No stranger to leadership and dedication to UMKC Libraries, Sandy Rodriguez continues to be an invaluable member of the leadership team. In preparation for Dean Emerita Postlethwaite’s retirement, Sandy Rodriguez (she/her/hers) was promoted from Assistant Dean to Associate Dean of Special Collections & Archives in January 2020. In addition to overseeing the Special Collections & Archives division, she has taken on various aspects of Dean Emerita Postlethwaite’s responsibilities including oversight of organizational development, diversity initiatives, and the library’s partnership in the digital and public humanities initiative. Since joining UMKC Libraries in 2008, Sandy has held a number of positions focused on digital preservation, curation, and access to the library’s distinctive archival collections. An advocate for equitable and inclusive labor practices, Sandy’s research explores the intersection of labor ethics, identity, and power in libraries, archives, and museums. She is the co-founder of the Women in Recorded Sound collective; serves as co-facilitator of the Digital Library Federation’s Working Group on Labor in Digital Libraries, Archives, and Museums; and is Co-Principal Investigator for "Collective Responsibility: National Forum on Labor Practices for Grant-Funded Digital Positions," an IMLS national leadership grant. In 2019, Sandy received the UMKC Chancellor's Award for Embracing Diversity in recognition of her service to the university.

Finally, Nara Newcomer, Head of Music/Media, is appointed as Interim Director of Libraries Operations in order to provide support for Cindy’s Associate Dean duties related to day-to-day operations and the Libraries' building operations. Nara came to UMKC as Head of the Music/Media Library in 2013, and will continue in this role in addition to serving as the Interim Director of Libraries Operations. Her work at UMKC has included leading all aspects of Music/Media Library operations; collection development for music, media, and humanities; serving on the Libraries’ Copyright Team; library instruction and reference; and working closely with UMKC Conservatory students and faculty. Nara is also a regular adjunct instructor for the UMKC Conservatory’s graduate Music Research and Bibliography course. Her research interests include music student research behaviors and the intricacies of finding music in online library catalogs, and she has published in Music Reference Services Quarterly, Notes: The Journal of the Music Library Association, Common-place, and Forum Musikbibliothek. Professionally, Nara is an active member of the Music Library Association, Music OCLC Users Group, and American Guild of Organists, and is Parish Musician at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Olathe, KS.

Join us in celebrating these wonderful contributors and library leaders!

Posted: July 28, 2020