November 17, 2017

East Baton Rouge Director Leaves for Nova Southeastern Job

By Norman Oder

  • New job includes joint use academic-public library
  • Debate in Baton Rouge over new main library
  • Growing system post-Katrina

Lydia Acosta, director of the largest library system in Louisiana, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, will return to a previous career track in academia by taking a job as VP of information services and university librarian at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Acosta told the Advocate that she’d be closer to family in Florida, and her boss said she’d be earning more money. She leaves after some debate over whether the system should build a new main library downtown or keep it in the more central location at Independence Park.

 Acosta and the library board in 2005 approved a plan for a downtown library, but citizens and political leaders resisted; Mayor and Parish President Kip Holden last year spurred a plan for a new main library at the current location and a new downtown branch, according to the Advocate. Acosta said her departure was not connected to the controversy; she had helped the library achieve a property ta Xrenewal in 2004 and opened five new facilities.

The library, serving the state’s capital city, has seen significant growth after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 displaced many residents from New Orleans and surrounding parishes. Acosta took the job in 2003; she had directed Fountaindale Library District, IL, and previously was dean of library and learning resources at Chicago State University. Nova Southeastern’s Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center is a joint-use facility that functions as the main library for the university and a branch for the Broward County Library.

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