John Szabo, City Librarian, Los Angeles Public Library
John F. Szabo is the City Librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library, which serves over four million people—the largest population of any library in the United States. As City Librarian, he oversees the Central Library, 72 branches, 900 employees and the library’s $107 million budget. In 2011, nearly 13 million people visited the library and borrowed more than 15 million items.
Szabo has more than 20 years of leadership experience in public libraries. Throughout his career, Szabo has championed innovative library services that address critical community needs in areas including health disparities, workforce development, adult literacy, school readiness and emergent literacy for preschoolers. He also has extensive experience in consensus building and outreach to diverse communities.
From 2005 to 2012, Szabo was the Director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. His accomplishments included leading a program to build and renovate 34 libraries funded by a $275 million bond referendum, and initiating a groundbreaking “eCampus” featuring a robust online learning environment with virtual courses, career readiness resources, live tutoring and other lifelong learning tools.
Szabo’s previous experience includes serving as the director of the Clearwater (FL) Public Library System (1998-2005), Palm Harbor (FL) Public Library (1995-1998), Robinson (IL) Public Library District (1992-1995).
Szabo received his master’s degree in information and library studies at University of Michigan and his bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from University of Alabama. He completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He participated in a Group Study Exchange with Rotary International, visiting libraries and archives in Sicily and the Aeolian Islands.
He is a member of the Executive Board of the Urban Libraries Council, the OCLC Global Council, the External Advisory Board for the University of Michigan’s School of Information, and the Board of Directors of LYRASIS, a non-profit membership organization serving over 1,700 libraries. He is past president of both the Florida Library Association and the Tampa Bay Library Consortium Board of Directors.