Szabo will oversee the department’s central library, comprising 72 branches, 900 employees and a $113 million budget.
“John Szabo is uniquely qualified to lead our city’s renowned library system into a new era of innovation, expanded services and enhanced accessibility,” Villaraigosa said in a statement. “We conducted an intensive national search for the right leader for the Los Angeles Public Library, 21st century’s premiere public library system to benefit all Angelenos.”
Szabo has served as the director of the Atlanta Fulton Public Library System since 2005.
“Most notable of many of the accomplishments made during John’s tenure was his spearheading the astounding show of support for the libraries in the 2008 general election when residents of Fulton County passed a $275 million library bond referendum — one of the largest in the nation,” Atlanta-Fulton library spokeswoman Kelly Robinson said in a statement.
Anne Haimes will serve as interim director when Szabo departs at the end of July.
“It is an immense honor to lead the Los Angeles Public Library, and I am thrilled at the opportunity to serve the residents of this great city.” Szabo said in a statement. “Angelenos love their libraries, and I eagerly look forward to working with the mayor, city council, library commission, staff and supporters to deliver innovative and comprehensive library services of the highest quality. At a time when public libraries are busier than ever, it is extremely ^ exciting to provide services that address critical needs and that are so essential to the diverse communities we serve.”
Prior to his arrival in Atlanta in 2005, Szabo served as director of the Clearwater Public Library System in Florida and served as president of the Florida Library Association. He also served as director of the Palm Harbor Public Library in Florida and as director of the Robinson Public Library District in Illinois.
He earned a master’s degree in information and library studies from the University of Michigan and a bachelor of arts in telecommunication and film from the University of Alabama.