Library Journal names DPLA Steering Committee Member Luis Herrera 2012 LJ Librarian of the Year

Library Journal names DPLA Steering Committee Member Luis Herrera 2012 LJ Librarian of the Year

Posted by Kenny Whitebloom on January 11, 2012 in Blog, Featured.



New York, NY, January 10, 2012—It’s rare that a city mayor, board of supervisors, library commission and department heads, a union, and citizens of all types come together on anything, but that’s what happened in San Francisco when City Librarian Luis Herrera was nominated for the prestigious LJ Librarian of the Year award. Citywide support, including  recently elected Mayor Edwin Lee, users of  the city’s branch libraries, chiefs of other city departments, and members of the Librarians Guild of the Service Employees International Union made Luis Herrera the clear choice for the 2012 LJ Librarian of the Year. He was chosen by the editors of LJ.

Herrera earned broad respect by establishing a firm fiscal foundation for the San Francisco Public Library when he became City Librarian in 2005. He restarted the stalled Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) by boldly asking voters to extend for another 15 years a property tax set aside that was going to expire in 2009 and to grant the SFPL authority to issue revenue bonds. (This perspective and more is detailed in LJ’s January cover story, also available online at

“The measure passed. In fact, 75 percent of the voters were for it,” says Herrera. “There was tremendous cooperation with the mayor’s office. We all came up with creative solutions.” To date, 22 of the 24 branch projects have been completed.

Herrera’s understanding of the importance of teams, sensitive leadership, and shared management style have all contributed to his success. In addition, his ability to get things done by building partnerships with other city departments—the Police Department, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Environment, the Parks Department—is unique.

“I have a great team. My mentors all said, ‘Surround yourself with good people,’ and I did,” he says.

According to the article, by Library Journal’s John N. Berry III, “Such humility and kindness is key to Herrera’s success in San Francisco and to winning this award. In short, he got voters to extend SFPL support for 15 years. He employed his participatory management style to create a rare alliance between management and union. He invoked an ability to build strong and effective partnerships with other city departments, while his unusual brand of courage empowered staff teams to make management and organizational changes and decisions.”

Berry continues, “Herrera is LJ’s 2012 Librarian of the Year because of his joyous spirit and infectious optimism about libraries and his willingness to communicate that optimism to all those involved, especially the citizens of San Francisco.”

LJ’s 2012 Librarian of the Year Award will be presented to Herrera at a special awards dinner during the American Library Association’s Midwinter meeting in Dallas in January.


Library Journal is one of the oldest and most respected publications covering the library field. Over 100,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries read LJLibrary Journal reviews over 8,000 books, audiobooks, videos, databases, and Web sites annually, and covers technology, management, policy, and other professional concerns. Library Journal is a publication of Media Source Inc., which also owns School Library JournalThe Horn Book Magazine, and Junior Library Guild.


Media Source, Inc., serves the library community by combining school and public library expertise with access to some of the most respected brands and best minds in the world of children’s and young adult literature, collection development, and library management.

Photo courtesy of Friends of the San Francisco Public Library on Flickr.

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