Librarian of Virginia announces retirement plans

Search begins for her successor

Free Press staff report | 7/13/2023, 6 p.m.
The Library of Virginia Board will embark on a national search for the 10th librarian of Virginia after Sandra Gioia …
Dr. Treadwell

The Library of Virginia Board will embark on a national search for the 10th librarian of Virginia after Sandra Gioia Treadway announced her intent to retire by the end of the calendar year. Dr. Treadway has spent 45 years with the agency.

“We are profoundly grateful for Dr. Treadway’s outstanding service and dedication to the Library of Virginia,” said C. Paul Brockwell Jr., chair of the Library Board. “It is essential that we find a new leader who can build on Sandy’s legacy and keep moving the Library’s work forward as it reaches and serves new audiences across the commonwealth.”

A renowned historian, Dr. Treadway has served as librarian of Virginia for the past 16 years and was deputy librarian for 11 years prior to that. She joined the Library in 1978 as an associate editor of publications and went on to serve in various positions before being named the state librarian in 2007. In this role, she oversees the Library’s comprehensive collection of print and manuscript materials documenting the history, culture and government of Virginia.

During her tenure, the Library achieved significant growth in the digitization and accessibility of its records, opening new windows to the past for diverse audiences through projects such as Virginia Untold: The African American Narrative and Making History with LVA, a volunteer transcription program. The Library also expanded onsite public programming to draw new audiences to its facility and strengthened outreach to communities statewide with the launch of its mobile van, LVA On the Go, in 2023.

Her retirement comes as the Library prepares to conclude a yearlong celebration of its 200th anniversary with a special series of events and programs.

“It has been an honor to lead an organization of such importance to the commonwealth and the nation,” Dr. Treadway said. “As a librarian and a historian, I appreciate the richness and scope of the Library’s vast collections and the extraordinary expertise of our dedicated staff. It has been exciting to watch our progress over the years in making the Library’s holdings more widely accessible through innovative programs, exhibitions and digital projects.

“Working to strengthen relationships within state government and the wider library and cultural community has been immensely gratifying. And I can’t think of a better way to cap off my career than to help the Library share the stories of Virginians from all corners of the commonwealth and all walks of life as we celebrate our 200th anniversary.”

Dr. Treadway also led the Library’s involvement in several of Virginia’s most important historical commemorations, such as the work of Jamestown 2007; the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission; the Virginia Bicentennial of the War of 1812 Commission; and American Evolution, 2019.

“We are thankful for Sandy’s steadfast leadership and for her work to build a capable, dedicated and enthusiastic team to carry out the Library’s important missions,” said Blythe Ann Scott, vice chair of the Library Board. “She is admired across the country for her wealth of historical knowledge and passion for unlocking inspiration and new knowledge in the Library’s vast collection of Virginia history.”

Mr. Brockwell has appointed a search committee comprised of board members that is organizing this month to begin the search for Dr. Treadway’s successor. He said he looks forward to collaborating with the Office of the Secretary of Education on the effort to recruit the next state librarian.

“Sandy will be a tough act to follow and leaves big shoes to fill,” Mr. Brockwell said. “Our board is committed to finding an excellent tenth Librarian of Virginia who can continue her hallmarks of outstanding servant-leadership for the Library and the many people it serves across Virginia.”