URBANA, Ill. (AP) — It is a homecoming of sorts for the new head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

In a news release, the university says Lynne M. Thomas is succeeding Valerie Hotchkiss as the library's director. Hotchkiss left last summer to become the university librarian at Vanderbilt University.

Thomas earned her master's degree in library and information sciences at the U of I and worked as a graduate assistant in the rare book library before embarking on her career that took her to Northern Illinois University. At NIU, she was curator of rare books and special collections and the head of distinctive collections. She was responsible for popular culture special collections, including the literary papers of more than 75 science fiction and fantasy authors.