Alexia Hudson-Ward will join the Oberlin community on July 1 as the Azariah Smith Root Director of Libraries. As director, Hudson-Ward will be responsible for the four campus libraries—Mudd Center library, the science library, the conservatory library, and the Clarence Ward Art Library—as well as special exhibits, collection development, technology integration, and space planning and utilization.
Hudson-Ward is currently a tenured associate librarian at Penn State, where she has worked since 2006–serving at the university’s Great Valley campus from 2006-2008, before transferring to its Abington campus where she is currently based. She has also worked in the Camden County Library System, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and Temple University. Prior to her transition into academia, Hudson-Ward served as a marketing manager for the Coca-Cola Company. She earned a BA in English and African American studies from Temple University, a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Pittsburgh, and is currently pursuing a PhD in managerial leadership in the information professions at Simmons College.
Associate Dean Pablo Mitchell, chair of the library director search committee, says the search for a new library director was very competitive, but Hudson-Ward was a standout. “Ms. Hudson-Ward was clearly at the top of the candidates in this extremely competitive pool. Her vision for the college library system, broad professional experience, and enthusiasm were unmatched and we are absolutely thrilled she has accepted the position.”
Hudson-Ward says she is very excited to be joining the Oberlin campus community. “I am very impressed with the warm, caring feel of the campus community I was exposed to during my interview process. Everyone I met was gracious, friendly, and ardent library supporters. To join an institution with such an incredible reputation as a leading liberal arts college and conservatory and located in a town with an amazing abolitionist history is the chance of a lifetime.”
As director, Hudson-Ward is interested in exploring how libraries “can continue to function as a central node through which various forms of learning can take place for the entire campus community,” she says. “One of my fundamental principles is that libraries democratize learning and preserve cultural memory. So I am eager to collaborate with the library staff, the students, and the faculty to cocreate platforms in which all types knowledge can be acquired and shared.”
“I have a great deal to learn and Ray English left me very big ‘shoes’ to fill. I am so thrilled to be Oberlin’s new director of libraries and look forward to our journey together,” Hudson-Ward says.