Speaking of Speakers: Valerie Gross

A great keynote speaker has the ability to inform, engage, and inspire. We are fortunate to welcome a nationally renowned library leader and speaker to New Jersey to give the keynote address on Wednesday, April 26.

Valerie Gross, president & CEO of Howard County Library System and a LJ Mover & Shaker, will provide attendees with a common language for advocacy, planning, and marketing.  Regardless of the setting, "Libraries = Education".  Providing educational services for all members of our communities is a crucial service that deserves funding and support. This is true for public libraries, academic libraries, school libraries, and special libraries.

An educator and attorney for 30 years, Valerie J. Gross holds a Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a Master of Library Science from San Jose State University, and a law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law. She is a member of the ALA, PLA, MLA, and the California Bar Association. Developing a new vision for libraries, Gross worked with the Howard County Library System Board and staff members, local government, and the community to implement the “Libraries = Education" approach. She led the transformation of HCLS to its current prominence as a renowned educational institution, alongside the region’s schools, colleges, and universities.

Gross has delivered 80+ keynotes, workshops, seminars, and webinars on "Libraries = Education," drawing the participation and input of thousands of library professionals from 46 states and more than a dozen countries around the world. Combining these experiences, she authored Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage (ABC-CLIO, 2013). For living this game-changing vision, HCLS received Library Journal's prestigious Library of the Year award from among North America's 21,000 public and academic libraries. The publication hailed the “Libraries = Education” equation “a 21st-century model worthy of study and consideration by every library in America, if not the world.” (Library Journal, June 2013) In addition to leading HCLS to Library of the Year, Gross was honored by the Daily Record as a 2015 Innovator or the Year, and by the Baltimore Sun as one of “50 Women to Watch: The most intriguing, powerful, and memorable personalities making an impact on the Baltimore region.” She received the Public Libraries Best Feature Article Award in 2012 and 2010, and was honored as a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2004.

Valerie Gross successfully uses the principle, "Libraries = Education" to strengthen and grow library support, create partnerships, improve visibility, and increase funding. In 2013 the HCLS was recognized as the Gale/Library Journal Library of the Year and has been awarded a 5 star rating by LJ for five consecutive years. How will you utilize this approach to better communicate the essential role of your library?

Along with the NJLA President’s theme, the keynote speakers at the NJLA Conference often set the tone for our three-day experience, and we are thrilled that this year, we’re going beyond -- and truly breaking out of -- the box of stereotypes that exist within our profession and our communities of users. We look forward to continuing to celebrate all the big and little things that bring us together year after year! (Registration is now open(link is external), and Early Bird prices run through March 25.)

Laura Leonard and the 2016-2017 Conference Committee