For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development

The Free Library Names Dr. Guy Sims Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

PHILADELPHIA, December 7, 2020—The Free Library of Philadelphia has appointed Dr. Guy Sims as its full-time Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, effective Dec. 14. Sims brings experience as Assistant to the President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Bluefield College during his seven years at the school, where he now serves as Dean of Students. He has also participated and led community-building committees, commissions, and programs throughout his career.

“We are excited to welcome Guy Sims to our team at the Free Library, and are eager to include his voice and experience in our policies and decisions as we create a new path forward for the institution, our staff, and our patrons,” said Leslie M. Walker, Interim Director of the Free Library. “This is only one step toward addressing the systemic racism that exists within our organization that has hurt so many members of our team, but we are confident that Guy will be a strong leader as we take further action together.”

In the role of Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Sims will plan and advise the Director and Executive Leadership Team on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and work to foster a culture of inclusivity within that workforce. He will collaborate with Library management to create, implement, and monitor programs designed to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all staff.

Sims will become Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee, a sub-committee of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Trustees, and will serve as staff liaison to the Board of Trustees Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

“The work of inclusion and diversity is difficult but not daunting. It requires the work of all of the members of a community,” Sims said. “I look forward to joining the Free Library community to create, advance, and support an environment of mutual respect, leadership, collaboration, entrepreneurialism, and innovation, and to ensure our policies support the principles of an inclusive and diverse community.”

The Free Library’s search for a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer was conducted with participation from an interview committee, which included board members as well as staff selected using a rubric to ensure equitable representation across union membership and the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation, job class position, age, race, and gender.

“We wanted to ensure that members of our staff had a voice in the selection of the Diversity and Inclusion officer, and together we came to the conclusion that Guy’s experience in overseeing diversity and equity initiatives and his work with academic and community organizations made him a perfect fit for the Free Library,” said Sade A. Olanipekun-Lewis, Co-Chair of the Free Library Board of Trustees’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

Before his most recent position at Bluefield College, Sims served as Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Virginia Tech, consulted on Program Review and Diversity Enhancement at the University of Northern Iowa, and worked in the admissions offices in several colleges. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Lincoln University, a Master in Education in Educational Leadership from Arcadia University, a Master of Arts in Human Behavior from National University, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Northern Iowa University. He hails from the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, where he lived before working with educational institutions across the country.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850