The Virginia Library Association (VLA) Paraprofessional Forum named Deloris Jones Thomas of the College of William & Mary the Outstanding Paraprofessional for 2011 at its spring conference held in Richmond May 22-24. Thomas, of Newport News, is the assistant to the dean of university libraries and has worked at William & Mary’s Swem Library since 2004.
Presented annually since 1996, the award is given to a library support staff member who “demonstrates excellence in performance in his/her field of expertise. This individual should also be someone who fosters communication among library employees throughout the Commonwealth and advances and strengthens the image of paraprofessionals.”
In addition to her work at Swem, Thomas is active in VLA and has served on the board of the VLA Paraprofessional Forum since 2007 and as its secretary since 2008. At William & Mary, she was elected president of the Hourly and Classified Association (HACE) and was instrumental in creating its successor, the Staff Assembly. Thomas also served as the first president of the Staff Assembly and is the staff representative to the Board of Visitors. She continues to provide staff input on other campus committees, including Strategic Planning, Faculty Priorities, Employee Appreciation Day Planning, and College Diversity.
Debby Weiss, the director of technology for Swem Library, nominated Thomas. Her letter of nomination extolled Thomas’s many contributions and ended by observing that “she enjoys the highest regard of her colleagues around campus for the integrity, professionalism, and grace she brings to all her endeavors.”
Thomas acknowledges, “It’s nice to be recognized for the work I’ve done. And it’s very special that the award has created an opportunity for me to hear from friends and colleagues across the Commonwealth.”