Felton Thomas, Jr.

Felton Thomas, Jr. Is the Executive Director and CEO of the Cleveland Public Library (CPL), one of the nation’s largest and most respected metropolitan library systems. Under Thomas’ leadership, CPL has embarked on an ambitious 10-year Facilites Master Plan (FMP) to renovate or rebuild all 27 of its libraries, launched groundbreaking initiatives addressing community needs around technology, education and economic development, and received the prestigious “Five Star” award from Library Journal every year since 2009.

A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, Thomas started his library career at age 13 when he became the youngest page in the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. He later served as Director of Regional Branch Services for the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District and President of the Nevada Library Association before moving to Cleveland, Ohio.

Throughout his 40-year career in libraries, Thomas has been a recognized leader in the field of library and information science serving as President of the Public Library Association (PLA), Chair of the Board of Directors for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), and as a Trustee for Lyrasis, a non-profit member organization serving and supporting libraries, archives, museums, and cultural heritage organizations around the world. His contributions earned him the Library Journal’s Mover and Shaker award, the White House Champion for Change award, and the American Library Association’s (ALA) Equality Award.

An active and trusted community leader, Thomas currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Cleveland School of the Arts, and as a member of the Board of Directors for The Cleveland Museum of Art, DigitalC, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, United Way of Greater Cleveland, and University Circle, Inc., among others. He is the recipient of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Isaiah Award for Human Relations, The Cleveland Foundation’s Homer C. Wadsworth Award, and Cleveland Magazine’s Community Leader of the Year award.

Thomas earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from The University of Nevada-Las Vegas, his Master’s in Library Science from The University of Hawaii, and is a graduate of Leadership Cleveland.