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 and the library’s $123 million budget. In 2013, 14 million people visited the library and borrowed 15 million items.
Szabo’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 community-based organizations.
He 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.
Szabo’s previous experience includes serving as the director of the Atlanta-Fulton (GA) Public Library System (2005-2012), 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 currently a member of the Executive Board of the Urban Libraries Council.