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Valerie J. Gross, MLS, MM, JD

Valerie J. Gross, MLS, MM, JD

Valerie J. Gross, MLS, MM, JD

President & CEO
Howard County Library System

Valerie J. Gross began developing a 21st-century vision for libraries when she joined the Howard County Library System as its president and CEO in 2001.

That vision, she said, is that the library system would provide equal opportunities and education for everyone through a curriculum that comprises three pillars: self-directed education, research assistance and instruction and instructive and enlightening experiences.

Gross repositioned Howard County Library System as a key component of the education enterprise, alongside schools, colleges and universities. Her strategy involves branding libraries as educational institutions and library staff as educators. Using strategic vocabulary, HCLS has dispelled misperceptions about libraries and increased respect for library educators.

Gross wrote a book about her vision, published in 2013, called “Transforming Our Image, Building our Brand: The Education Advantage.”

“This new vision is ushering in a new era where libraries are assigned their accurate value, which means heightened respect and maximized funding,” Gross said. “An economic imperative, libraries are what the world values most: education.”