Los Angeles City Librarian Martín Gómez will leave the Los Angeles Public Library to accept the position of vice dean of the University of Southern California (USC) Libraries. He will begin at USC on April 2.
Gómez told LJ he’s making the move “because it is a great opportunity for me to do something very different in my career path.” In his new role, he will serve as the “inside person, making the trains run on time,” he said, so that the dean can focus on external outreach. “She has some heavy lifting to do in terms of fundraising,” Gómez said.
USC Dean of Libraries Catherine Quinlan joined the university in 2007, after more than a decade at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, where she served as university librarian and managing director of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. She spearheaded an organizational restructuring of the USC library system the following year.
Gómez has headed up the Los Angeles’ library system, which serves the largest population of any public library in country, for the past three years. He was appointed in 2009.
Last year, after deep budget cuts reduced library staff and service hours, Gómez worked with elected officials to create a ballot measure to amend the City Charter and increase the library’s share of dedicated city funds. The measure passed in March 2011 and the library has begun restoring service hours and programs.
Gomez told LJ he feels that the time is right for him to move on because “the organization is in a good position to attract a new person. We have new money coming in,” from Measure L, he continued, and “we have some key positions they can fill.”
Gómez previously served as the president and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council, executive director of the Friends & Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library and executive director of the Brooklyn Public Library.
A spokesperson for the library said no interim or permanent successor had yet been appointed. Gómez said he’s been asked to provide some help in the selection process, “and I am certainly interested in giving some assistance,” though of course the ultimate decision is the Mayor’s. The Mayor’s office could not be immediately reached for comment.