Welcome from the Dean

Karen Schneider

Karen Schneider

Caption: Photo by Cindi Blyberg

I believe there is no better time to be a librarian than now, and no better place to be a dean than at our library at Sonoma State University. My central job is to inspire, lead, and grow with the rest of the Library, to articulate a vision for the Library, to develop relationships outside the Library, and be an advocate on and off campus for Library services. I am dedicated to continuing the University Library’s student-centered approach and advancing the Library’s role as the heart of the campus.

Like most of our student body, I am a native Californian. I have also lived worldwide. I have over two decades of experience in academic, public, and government libraries, and I have held leadership positions in the American Library Association and other regional and national groups. I know the challenges and opportunities for libraries, and through strategic planning, leadership, and collaborative partnerships, and working closely with our terrific librarians and library workers, I am prepared to guide our great Library toward great opportunities.


Dr. Karen G. Schneider is Dean of the Library at Sonoma State University. She joined SSU in January 2015, her fifth time in a senior leadership role. She recently led a major renovation of her library’s busiest wing that established a “Student Success District” with a study pavilion surrounded by student support services.

In 2019 she was elected to the Executive Board of the American Library Association, the fifth-largest trade association in the United States, and she is a Commissioner for the Sonoma County Library. She has taught in graduate programs in library science at SUNY Albany and San Jose State University and presented widely on trends in librarianship.

An Air Force veteran, she serves on the Advisory Board to the Sonoma State University Military and Veterans Program. She has a B.A. in English from Barnard College, a Masters in Library Science from the University of Illinois, an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco, and a Ph.D. in Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions from Simmons College. A native San Franciscan who has lived worldwide, she now resides in Santa Rosa, California with her wife Sandy and their cat, Squeak.

Selected Publications


Leadership and Sexual Identity of Academic Library Leaders (Dissertation; 2017). School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College, Boston, MA.


A Practical Guide to Internet Filters, Neal Schuman, 1997

The Internet Access Cookbook, Neal Schuman, 1996


American Library Association, “Techsource,” occasional contributor, 2005 - 2007              

American Library Association, “Internet Librarian,” over 70 columns, 1995 - 2002 

Scholarly articles, book chapters, and expert reports (a selection):

Schneider, K. G., & O'Bryan, C. (2018). Zero-Based Budgeting in a Cutback Scenario for a Small Academic Library. Library Leadership & Management, 32(2).

To Be Real: Antecedents and Consequences of Sexual Identity Disclosure by Academic Library Directors, The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Volume 42, Issue 6, November 2016, Pages 719-731, ISSN 0099-1333, http://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2016.06.018 (peer-reviewed)

“Personal branding for librarians,” American Libraries; November 2012

“Wikipedia’s Awkward Adolescence,” CIO [online edition], September 2007, Retrieved from http://www.cio.com/article/2437979/enterprise-software/wikipedia-s-awkward-adolescence.html

“Internet filters: The wrong tool for the wrong job” (2000). Testimony to the COPA Commission. Retrieved from www.copacommission.org/meetings/hearing2/schneider.test.pdf

Guest editor, American Libraries, special issue on library finances, 1998

"The Tao of Internet costs", The Bottom Line, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 52-64, 1998. https://doi.org/10.1108/08880459810215209

“Children and information visualization technologies,” Interactions, 3(5), Sept./Oct. 1996

“Four librarians of the apocalypse; Or, what part of the paradigm don't you understand?” Wilson Library Bulletin, vol. 69, no. 2, Oct 1994, pp. 35-38

“Train for the Mission: Librarians vs. Top Guns.” Library Journal, February, 1994: 21-22 

Contact Information