The City Librarian
John F. Szabo
John F. Szabo is the City Librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library, which serves over four million people—the largest population of any public library in the United States. He oversees the Central Library, 72 branches and the Library’s $154 million budget. In 2015, the Library received the nation’s highest honor for library service, the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, for its success in meeting the needs of Angelenos and providing a level of social, educational and cultural services unmatched by any other public institution in the city.
Under his leadership, the Library’s major initiatives include those related to immigrant integration and citizenship, improving financial literacy and providing health resources and programs. He has expanded the library’s reach into the city’s diverse communities through partnerships with several community-based organizations.
He has more than 20 years of leadership experience in public libraries, previously serving as the director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, Clearwater (FL) Public Library System, Palm Harbor (FL) Public Library and Robinson (IL) Public Library District. 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.
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 also participated in a Group Study Exchange with Rotary International, visiting libraries and archives in Sicily and the Aeolian Islands.
He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of OCLC and the Board of Directors for Cal Humanities, Califa and the University of Southern California Center for Library Leadership and Management and MMLIS. He has previously served on the Executive Board of the Urban Libraries Council and as president of the Florida Library Association.