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Sarah Goodwin Thiel

Studio Fellow, Harwood Library Ambassador

Sarah Goodwin Thiel is the Faculty and Community Engagement Librarian for the University of Kansas Libraries. She holds a Master of Arts in Library Science from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and a Bachelor of Arts with a specialization in studio art/printmaking from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. As Faculty and Community Engagement Librarian, she works to foster an environment of engagement within the KU Libraries and to cultivate relationships with the wider community. Thiel is also the Coordinator of the Haricombe Gallery Exhibitions & Events Program where she oversees the development and installation of campus-wide collaborative, transdisciplinary exhibitions.

Thiel attended the ALA-Harwood Public Innovators Lab in 2013. She returned to the Harwood Institute in 2018, the inaugural year of the Studio on Community, where she served as a Studio Associate. She presents regularly on topics relating to engagement, collaboration and improved access to scholarship, collections and resources.

Learn more about Sarah Goodwin Thiel’s work with The Harwood Institute:

How has your work been impacted by the Turning Outward practice?

The Harwood Practice has guided my work since I became a community engagement librarian  and attended my first public innovators lab in 2013. Thinking aspirationally and turning outward to gather feedback from partners and colleagues has allowed me to build new relationships, help with strategic planning and develop initiatives which help others to do the same.

How do you view the role of libraries in your community?

In an academic environment, the Library is uniquely placed to engage with constituents across campus. Librarians bring people together, increase access to scholarship and creative work. The academic library can also, potentially, engage with the public library and other community centers to create interdisciplinary opportunities for campus and citizen scholars.

What would you say to a library professional who aims to make more positive, lasting impact on their community?

Turn Outward! Listen to your constituents, find out what they need/want and see how you can work with them to help them succeed.

What are some of your aspirations for your library, your community, and our larger society?

I aspire to live in a world/community where people understand that all perspectives have value and that people need to be listened to and heard.