Meet Brian Bannon, Merryl and James Tisch Director

By NYPL Staff
September 3, 2019
Brian Bannon headshot

Brian Bannon

Brian Bannon is The New York Public Library's first-ever Merryl and James Tisch Director. He is the chief librarian responsible for directing NYPL's 88 neighborhood branches as well as the Library's educational strategy. His first day at NYPL was September 3, 2019. 

Most recently, Bannon was commissioner and chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Library, serving as chief library officer for one of the largest urban public library systems in the world. Bannon came to NYPL in 2019 with 20 years of experience in developing and implementing educational programs and leading large-scale operations that maximize benefit for all citizens and contribute to a culture of learning, reading, and community education.

Before his successful tenure in Chicago, Bannon was chief information officer at the San Francisco Public Library and worked at the Seattle Public Library and for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has been recognized as an innovator throughout his career: among many other accolades, he has been named to Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People in Business" list and was named one of Chicago's top 100 innovators by Blue Sky Innovation, a publication of the Chicago Tribune. Bannon received his master's degree in library and information science from the University of Washington Information School.

During his time in Chicago, where he presided over an annual budget of $130 million, he implemented programs that were replicated in cities across the country with a focus on education. For example, family summer program attendance at Chicago Public Library has grown by 80 percent, and that attendance is linked to a 15 percent increase in reading and a 20 percent increase in math/science performance in school. Additionally, after adding free personalized online homework assistance and expanding in-person homework help, Chicago Public Library is now the largest provider of free homework help in Chicago. These results have incited new partnerships and investments from philanthropy, the business community, researchers, and the social sector.

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