Seattle Director Jacobs to Lead Gates Global Libraries Initiative

Seattle Director Jacobs to Lead Gates Global Libraries Initiative

Seattle City Librarian Deborah L. Jacobs, who oversaw the opening of the city’s acclaimed Rem Koolhaas–designed main library, is stepping down July 2 to become deputy director for global libraries at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Jacobs came to Seattle in November 1997 after serving as director of the Corvallis–Benton County (Ore.) Public Library. In her first year she spearheaded a successful drive to pass a $196.4-million bond issue to nearly double the space in 22 branches and replace the downtown library; at that time, it was the largest measure ever approved for library construction nationwide. During Jacobs’s tenure, annual circulation has risen from 4.9 million to 9.3 million.

“It has been a privilege to serve as Seattle’s city librarian,” Jacobs said. “The Seattle Public Library’s many successes are due to a dedicated library board, hard-working staff, support from elected officials, and the advocacy and fundraising efforts of the Seattle Public Library Foundation and Friends of the Seattle Public Library. Together, we have built a strong foundation able to meet the future needs of our community. I have confidence the library will continue to soar!”

“Deborah Jacobs has led our library through a remarkable period of growth and renewal,” said Mayor Greg Nickels. “She understands the important role libraries play in bringing communities together. I wish her the very best as she takes her passion and dedication to a global stage and leaves a lasting legacy.”

Jacobs will begin at the Gates foundation on August 10.

Posted on April 11, 2008. Discuss.