Salt Lake City Public Library Executive Director Peter Bromberg Resigns
Salt Lake City Public Library Executive Director, Peter Bromberg, has resigned, effective May 2. Bromberg’s announcement comes days after The City Library made public its plans to reopen for Express Services on Monday, March 15. Bromberg says, “For me, opening for Express Services, the significant lowering of COVID transmission, and the great pace of vaccinations in Utah, are indicative of the light at the end of the tunnel.” Bromberg is taking on the role of Program Director with EveryLibrary, a national nonprofit with a mission to ensure stable funding and access to libraries for generations to come.
In a letter to the Library’s Board of Directors, Bromberg said “I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to lead The City Library since September 2016 and am proud of the many things we have accomplished together over the past four-and-a-half years. After working in libraries for nearly 30 years, I feel called to focus my time and energy on the important work of national advocacy for library funding and support.”
Bromberg thanked the Board for their service to the Library and noted that, “the community is truly lucky to have you as trustees of the institution.” He extended his thanks to the leadership team at the Library saying, “They consistently perform their roles with the highest levels of integrity, skill, compassion, and an unparalleled commitment to service.” To staff, Bromberg explained, “As I began thinking more seriously about the timing of my departure, I realized that there is no good time. But the Library is now on a stable path to emerge from the COVID crisis, we have a great team to set the course for fully reopening, and our budget is in good shape.”
During his tenure as Director, Bromberg prioritized improving access to library services and eliminating inequitable barriers to Library use. He restructured the budget and secured a significant budget increase in 2017 to ensure responsible, long-term maintenance of the eight library facilities and technology infrastructure.
Perhaps the most high-profile accomplishment of Bromberg’s tenure is the elimination of fees for overdue items, a policy that went into effect on July 1, 2017. In the following year, checkouts increased by 16% and the total number of library cardholders increased by 26,000. Late fees were not a significant source of revenue for the Library and accounted for only 0.3% of the Library’s annual budget. Since then, Bromberg has coached library leadership across the country to help them successfully enact their own fine-free policies. A year after going fine free, The City Library interviewed a happy patron, “Getting rid of fines has really changed the way we use the Library. I’m a single mom and I simply couldn’t afford to come to the Library if there were still late fees. But this has taken so much stress off of me. I’m not afraid to check out books anymore. Coming to the Library is such a pleasure.”
During the global COVID-19 crisis, Bromberg focused the Library’s efforts on keeping patrons and staff safe, by fully transitioning to online services when it became clear that people could not gather inside as they used to. Library services have continued to run throughout the entire pandemic, adapted to accommodate social distancing and other safety requirements. Thousands of books were donated to partners and low-income schools at the beginning of the pandemic, to stay connected to those who were most impacted by COVID. Since June, over 50,000 curbside appointments have been made by patrons looking to safely check out items. In December, a grant totalling over $400,000 was awarded to The City Library to continue to help patrons bridge the digital divide.
Bromberg will be taking on the role of Program Director with EveryLibrary, a nonprofit that works with libraries across the country helping them effectively advocate at the ballot box for sustainable funding. He will also continue to volunteer time to the Utah Library Association working on advocacy, funding, and policy issues for libraries across the state.
The Library Board of Directors will meet to discuss the appointment of an Interim Director, on Monday, March 22.