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Photo of Ballard-Thrower, Rhea

Rhea Ballard-Thrower

Professor • University Librarian and Dean of Libraries

Library Administration


Office Phone:

(312) 996-2716


Rhea Ballard-Thrower joined the University of Illinois Chicago as Dean and University Librarian in the middle of the Covid pandemic in 2021. In her role, she provides the strategic direction and vision for Chicago’s only public Carnegie Research 1 library.

Ballard-Thrower earned her B.A. from the University of Cincinnati, a J.D. from the University of Kentucky, and her M.I.L.S. from the University of Michigan.

Prior to her appointment at UIC, Ballard-Thrower was Executive Director of the Howard University Libraries. During her time at Howard, she also served as Director of the Howard University School of Law Library. As a Howard Law faculty member, Ballard-Thrower taught Advance Legal Research using the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program pedagogy. A course she now teaches at UIC Law as Students in Jail.

Earlier in her career, Ballard-Thrower was Associate Director at the Georgia State University Law Library, and as a reference librarian for the Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas – Austin.

As a law librarian, Ballard-Thrower has been a legal bibliography instructor, conference presenter, and author of many articles on law librarianship. Her current research highlights teaching legal research to incarcerated students as a social justice tool.

Ballard-Thrower currently serves as an executive board member of both the American Research Libraries and the Chicago Collections Consortium.

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