February 17, 2018

David Giles | Movers & Shakers 2016 – Change Agents

David Giles


Chief Strategy Officer, Brooklyn Public Library


MA, Philosophy, University of Chicago, 2006


A “serious book nerd,” Giles carefully crafts a reading list for himself each year, tinkering with it as the year progresses


@urbablurb (Twitter); nycfuture.org/research/publications/branches-of-opportunity; nycfuture.org/research/publications/­re-envisioning-new-yorks-branch-libraries; archleague.org/2014/07/re-envisioning-branch-libraries

Photo ©2016 Shawn G. Henry

Urban Futurist

As research director for the Center for an Urban Future (CUF), a New York City–based public policy think tank, David Giles had the chance to advocate on a grand scale—for the 217 branches across New York City’s three library systems. He wrote CUF’s 2013 report, “Branches of Opportunity,” which examined the roles of the city’s neighborhood libraries; in 2014, “Re-Envisioning New York’s Branch Libraries” focused on the severe design, space, and infrastructure challenges they faced.

The reports reverberated. CUF put together a team of designers, architects, and librarians to brainstorm solutions. High-profile foundations broke out creative information campaigns. And, finally, the mayor and city council increased operating funds for the three systems by $43 million—enabling six-day service citywide for the first time in nearly a decade—and put $300 million in the capital plan for the reconstruction of 15 branches.

“The opportunity we had to dig in so deeply on an issue that was so poorly understood, even by people on ‘the inside’…was exhilarating and important,” says Giles.

Such successful championing of urban libraries has given him “a taste for taking ideas to the point where they can be implemented” (as well as a taste for libraries). Now at Brooklyn Public Library as chief strategy officer, Giles will be doing just that.

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.



  1. Lauren Comito says:

    AAAAAAH! So excited! This is an amazing choice for M&S. Congrats David!