Villaraigosa Appoints New City Librarian

The San Luis Reservoir in CA | Photo: Kansas Sebastian/Flickr/Creative Commons License

The former director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, who is credited with turning around the troubled system there while he served, has been appointed to be L.A.'s City Librarian -- the highest post of the Los Angeles Public Library -- by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

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John Szabo will replace Martin Gomez, who announced in February that he was leaving his post to serve as vice dean of the University of Southern California (USC) Libraries.

"John Szabo is uniquely qualified to lead our city's renowned library system into anew era of innovation, expanded services and enhanced accessibility," said Mayor Villaraigosa. "We conducted an intensive national search for the right leader for the Los Angeles Public Library, and John Szabo exceeded all the criteria. With his experience, leadership and vision, we will develop the twenty first century's premiere public library system to benefit all Angelenos."

During his tenure in Atlanta, Szabo initiated a program knows as "eCampus," which promoted an online learning environment with live tutoring and career resources. He also oversaw the development of a Library Building Program that was funded by a $275 million bond referendum to renovate 23 libraries, build eight ones, and expand two.

The City Council must confirm Szabo's appointment. If approved, he will be responsible for overseeing the Los Angeles' Central Library, 72 branches across the city, 900 employees, and a $113 million budget.

"It is an immense honor to lead the Los Angeles Public Library, and I am thrilled at the opportunity to serve the residents of this great city." Szabo said.

The LAPL serves the largest population of any library system in the country.

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