Bernard A. Margolis, State Librarian

Updates from the State Librarian:


Bernard A. Margolis began serving as New York State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries in January 2009. Reporting to the Commissioner of Education, Mr. Margolis administers the New York State Research Library and the Division of Library Development. In partnership with the state's 73 public and school library systems, the State Library delivers library services to 19.5 million people served by New York's 7,000 academic, public, school and special libraries.

The New York State Research Library serves as the state's official Law Library and Medical Library holding over 20 million items in its rich and comprehensive collections. Significant holdings include early Dutch records and New York State history, Lincoln's first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation and Washington's draft of his famous Farewell Address. The New York State Library is the only state library to be elected to membership in the Association of Research Libraries representing the premier research libraries in North America.

The New York State Library Division of Library Development is responsible for administering a system of state and federal support for libraries of every type. Included is the annual administration of over $98 million in grants and support including $14 million for library construction.

Mr. Margolis came to the State Library from his previous post as President of the Boston Public Library (BPL), Boston, Massachusetts, where he served from 1997 to 2008. The Boston Public Library is the oldest municipal public library in the country, with 27 neighborhood branches. The Library's collections of over 34 million items include the library of President John Adams, Shakespeare's first folio, Gutenberg's Catholicon, and many other unique and rare materials.
Mr. Margolis' achievements as Boston Public Library president include expansion of branch library hours; appointment of a children's librarian in every branch; creation of a nationally recognized Homework Assistance Program and online tutoring program; implementation of Reading Readiness to prepare preschoolers for school success; creation of local history centers in branch libraries; creation of the award-winning Norman B. Leventhal Map Center and the development of a collection conservation program. Under Mr. Margolis' leadership, Boston Public Library secured millions in federal funds for technology improvements and many foundation grants, designated gift funds, and major bequests.  He led the effort to restore and renovate the historic central library building and established a critical repair fund, allowing the Library to address building and equipment repairs in a timely manner.

Mr. Margolis holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in Librarianship, both from the University of Denver.  His library experience includes management and executive positions in libraries and library systems in Colorado, Michigan and Massachusetts. Prior to moving to Boston, he served as Director/CEO of the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs from 1988 to 1997.

Mr. Margolis' service includes a number of positions within the American Library Association including service as an elected member of the governing Council, leadership in the Association of Research Libraries, service as a professional delegate to the White House Conference on Libraries, and service on the boards of library organizations in Massachusetts, Colorado, and Michigan. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Library Administration and Bottom Line: The Magazine of Library Financial Management. He has contributed to several books and has published articles in American Libraries, Public Libraries, and Library Journal.

Last Updated: August 2, 2017