Fireside Chat: The Library as a Cornerstone of Democracy
Tuesday, January 23, 2024
John Szabo and Stacy Lieberman will discuss the critical services of the public library that signify a well-functioning civil society and a flourishing democracy. Join us for a thought-provoking discussion and learn how the partnership between the Los Angeles Public Library and the Library Foundation of Los Angeles supports libraries’ roles as hubs for community engagement, intellectual freedom, and civic empowerment. In a major election year, how can the library continue to foster inclusivity, free access to information, and democratic ideals while facing unprecedented new challenges?
Stacy Lieberman, an innovative and inclusive leader, is an expert in the dynamic field of arts and culture in Los Angeles. Currently the president and CEO of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, Stacy has more than 20 years of experience in senior leadership positions at iconic L.A. arts, non-profit, and educational institutions such as The Broad, the Autry Museum of the American West, and the Skirball Cultural Center. Building on an early career in book publishing, she has dedicated her professional life to sharing stories and welcoming visitors and students of all ages and backgrounds to experience educational, arts, and cultural opportunities. A mission-driven, collaborative, and leading-edge executive, she is known for enhancing the narratives of public institutions to help them engage more broadly with local communities. She has a track record of success in building awareness and support, expanding access, prioritizing equity, and developing mutually beneficial partnerships. She serves on a number of boards, including the Downtown Center Business Improvement District, and her work has been recognized by the Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards, the Los Angeles Business Journal, the American Alliance of Museums, and Independent Publisher, among others. Stacy received a bachelor’s degree cum laude in English and French from Tufts University and a master’s degree in English from Wayne State University.
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 and 72 branches. 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 25 years of leadership experience in public libraries, previously serving as the director of four libraries including the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of OCLC and on the Board of Directors for the University of Southern California’s Center for Library Leadership and Management. He has previously served on the Executive Boards of the Urban Libraries Council and California Humanities and as president of the Florida Library Association.
This event will take place in person at the Mark Taper Auditorium of Central Library. However, we will also livestream this event for attendees who would like to participate but cannot join us in person.