GINNIE COOPER LEAVES BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY TO CONTINUE HER VISION AND LEADERSHIP IN WASHINGTON D.C.
Appointed in 2003, Ginnie is the first female Executive Director of BPL. A nationally-recognized change agent and library leader, she built a strong plan for public service at BPL, which was articulated in three clear and distinct goals: More people will make more use of BPL in more ways than ever before; BPL will make a greater difference in the lives of children; BPL will be easier to do business with.
“I found her [Ginnie] to be extremely likable, competent, and very innovative,” said artist and philantrophist Danny Simmons, who worked closely with Ginnie as a member of the BPL Board of Trustees.
As Executive Director of BPL, providing improved services to children was one of Ginnie’s top priorities. She spearheaded the highly publicized Brooklyn Reads to Babies initiative, an early literacy campaign developed to teach parents and caregivers about the importance of reading to babies and toddlers. She also created special First Five Years spaces for babies and preschoolers at 18 library locations.
From 2003 to 2006, Ginnie increased spending for books and other library materials by 30%. She drove double digit increases in circulation, library card registrations and attendance to popular programs such as Summer Reading. In addition to her focus on the youngest library card holders, Ginnie helped staff create and offer more programs in more locations for a variety of audiences. BPL was among the first libraries to offer bilingual Live Online Homework Help and the first library system in New York City to provide Summer Reading programs for Adults. She worked closely with the Brooklyn Public Library Foundation to help raise funds to support innovative programming for teens, and made library card applications available in multiple languages.
“I was building a very good working relationship with Ginnie, so I'm sad to see her go,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile. “At the same time, I wish her all the best as she undertakes her next stage of her career in our nation's capital.”
Under her leadership, Ginnie increased hours of service system wide, allowing libraries to be open six days a week throughout the borough. By extending service hours, BPL was able to meet the needs of more people, more days a week. Ginnie also recognized technology as one of the ways to make the Library an easy place to use. She introduced enhancements such as the installation of Wi-Fi service, a system wide upgrade of 1,000 public computers, and the launch of online renewals and holds. She also instituted express check technology and the multipurpose Access Brooklyn Card (ABC), which allows library users to do more – and more quickly – including check out books, reserve computers, make photocopies and pay fines.
Ginnie is a strong advocate for staff and worked to elevate career opportunities for librarians, library associates, and clerical staff while at BPL. She addressed the long standing problem of librarian compensation by creating new positions and promotional opportunities. Her support of training and other staff development created an environment where staff received the skills they wanted and needed, and encouraged creativity and new ideas within the library.
In addition to working with staff and library trustees, Ginnie collaborated with elected officials to ensure the best service for the people of Brooklyn.
In three years, Ginnie re-opened eight renovated branch libraries throughout the borough, including completing the restoration of three historic Carnegie libraries at Bedford, Stone Avenue and Williamsburgh. Ginnie guided the Plaza + Auditorium renovation project at BPL’s Central Library. She also managed several capital projects to reconfigure, add space and improve library services such as the current redesign of BPL’s Education, Job & Information Center and Literacy centers for the public.
Ginnie, who prior to Brooklyn served as the director of Multnomah County Library, constantly found inspiration in the creativity and arts communities blossoming throughout the borough. Recognizing that this community would need a place to create and perform, she has led the planning for the Visual & Performing Arts Library, along with support from the State, the Mayor and the City Council, to meet the emerging needs of the people in Brooklyn.
“It has been an honor and a great privilege to serve as Brooklyn Public Library’s Executive Director. The decision to leave was a difficult one. I will miss the energy and spirit of this great borough.”
Ginnie Cooper served as the 10th executive director of Brooklyn Public Library.
For additional information about Ginnie’s new appointment, please contact Monica Lewis, Director of Marketing and Communications, at District of Columbia Public Library at 202.727.1186.
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Brooklyn Public Library is an independent New York City library system serving the borough of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest in the United States. Its Central Library, Business Library, and 58 neighborhood libraries offer free information, programs and computer access to people of all ages. You can reach the Library's resources of over 70 reference databases, catalog information and news 24 hours a day at www.bklynlibrary.org