The Board of Regents has announced the appointment of Bernard A. Margolis as the New York State Librarian. He will assume his new responsibilities in January 2009.
State Education Commissioner Richard Mills said, “We live in an age of information, and libraries play a critical role in providing us with access to that information. They are vital to our economy and our communities. They promote literacy and lifelong learning. And in these trying economic times, they are vital to people seeking information about jobs. I am thrilled that the Regents have appointed a dynamic and innovative person like Mr. Margolis to serve in the critically important position of State Librarian.”
The New York State Library provides information and library services through its Research Library and the Division of Library Development. Mr. Margolis will have oversight responsibility for a $13.4 million operating budget, 180 employees, over 20 million collection items and nearly $100 million in State and federal aid to libraries.
One of the largest research libraries in North America, the New York State Research Library is the only state library which is a member of the Association of Research Libraries. The Library’s holdings include a significant manuscript and rare book collection, as well as holdings in a wide variety of formats, including paper, microform, digital and electronic records. It is also a Federal Depository and Patent Library- has the responsibility for the acquisition, distribution and maintenance of New York State documents- and is a regional library for the blind and visually impaired in New York’s 55 upstate counties.
The Division of Library Development provides leadership and technical assistance to New York’s 73 library systems through a comprehensive program of State aid for public, school, academic and special library services. Staff experts work with librarians, trustees, school administrators, public officials and local leaders to solve problems and find new ways of making library services and resources available to their community. Library Development administers more than $100 million in State and federal aid to New York’s libraries and helps them to take full advantage of federal and private funding programs like E-rate telecommunications discounts and Gates Library Foundation grants.
Mr. Margolis served as the President of Boston Public Library (BPL), Boston, Massachusetts, from 1997 to 2008. BPL is the oldest municipal public library in the country, with 27 neighborhood branches. The Library’s collections of over 34 million items include the library of President John Adams, Shakespeare’s first folio, Gutenberg’s Catholicon, and many other unique and rare materials. BPL is a member of the Association of Research Libraries.
Mr. Margolis’s achievements as BPL president include expansion of branch library hours- appointment of a children’s librarian in every branch- creation of a nationally recognized Homework Assistance Program and online tutoring program- implementation of Reading Readiness to prepare preschoolers for school success- creation of local history centers in eight branch libraries- creation of the award-winning Norman B. Leventhal Map Center- development of a collection conservation program- and growth of the BPL’s trust funds from $37 million to $55 million. Under Mr. Margolis’s leadership, BPL secured $7 million of direct grants and $18 million in federal funds for technology improvements and many foundation grants, designated gift funds, and major bequests.
Mr. Margolis led the effort to restore and renovate the historic central library building, securing funding from a number of sources. He worked with the City of Boston to establish a critical repair fund, allowing BPL to address building and equipment repairs in a timely manner. BPL collaborated with other cultural institutions and more than 4,500 different community groups and organizations.
Mr. Margolis holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in Librarianship, both from the University of Denver. His library experience includes management and executive positions in libraries and library systems in Colorado and Michigan. Prior to moving to Boston, he served as Director/CEO of the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs (from 1988 to 1997).
Mr. Margolis’s service includes a number of elected positions within the American Library Association, leadership in the Association of Research Libraries, service as a professional delegate to the White House Conference on Libraries, and service on the boards of library organizations in Massachusetts, Colorado, and Michigan. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Library Administration and Bottom Line: The Magazine of Library Financial Management. He has contributed to several books and has published articles in American Libraries, Public Libraries, and Library Journal.