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EDUCATION BRIEFS: DCPL Chief Librarian Announces Plans to Step Down

6/5/2013, 4 p.m.
After nearly seven years at thAfter nearly seven years at the helm of the D.C. Public Library, Chief Librarian Ginnie ...
Ginnie Cooper

After nearly seven years at the helm of the D.C. Public Library, Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper announced May 29 her plans to retire later this year.

Cooper will remain chief librarian for the next few months until the library board names a successor. During that time, Cooper will oversee the increase in library hours and the initial phase of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library renovation, funding that is included in Mayor Vincent C. Gray's proposed fiscal year 2014 library budget and pending approval by City Council.

"It is truly an honor to be here at this important time for the library and for the city," said Cooper. "My departure is bittersweet. While I look forward to what the future will bring, I will miss being a part of a team that works hard every day to provide great library service to residents of the District."

“Ginnie has had a tremendous impact on the District, and is one of the finest public servants I’ve worked with," said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. "She has transformed our library system while beautifying our neighborhoods with buildings that will inspire District residents for generations. We will miss her commitment and hardwork.”

“It has been an honor working with the Mayor and other elected officials. I appreciate their leadership and support of the District's libraries," said Cooper. "Their commitment to funding the library illustrates how important library service is to District resident's quality of life."

Arriving in the District in 2006 with the charge to transform the District's library system, Cooper has led the renovation or construction of 14 neighborhood libraries and tripled the number of books checked out. In addition, the number of public access computers available increased tenfold from 100 to more than 1,000.

"Several years ago, the Mayor, City Council, library board and concerned citizens laid out a vision for the District’s public libraries," said John Hill, president of the Board of Library Trustees. "Today, with award-winning new libraries across the city, nationally-recognized library programs and services, and a commitment to improved services and further facility improvements, we are well on our way to realizing this vision. Ginnie and her team are a key reason for this success. It has been my pleasure and that of the library board to work with her the last seven years."

The library board has organized a search committee to do a national search for a new Chief Librarian.

"I have had the opportunity to work with an extraordinary library board, including board chair John Hill," added Cooper. "John and his colleagues on the board hired me to transform this library, and have supported and advised me every step of the way."

Cooper's library career spans more than 40 years. She began her career as a librarian in Washington County (Minn). She served as library director at a host of public libraries including Alameda County (Ca.), Multnomah County in Portland, Ore, Brooklyn, NY and most recently Washington, D.C.

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