Gary Strong has been UCLA university librarian since September 2003. He served as the director of the Queens Borough Public Library from September 1994 through August 2003.
Strong's career spans more than forty years as a librarian and library administrator, giving him a unique perspective on the ramifications of the Information Age. He can address many of the key issues reflecting the social challenges facing public institutions today, including the role of the public library in the twenty-first century; adult literacy; electronic equity for equal access to information; multiculturalism and cultural diversity in a pluralistic society; intellectual freedom, privacy, and censorship; funding and fundraising for public institutions; and a host of subjects relating to the knowledge explosion.
He has won the Knowledge Trust Award, Twenty-First Century Librarian Award from Syracuse University, Charlie Robinson Award from the Public Library Association, and Humphrey Award from the American Library Association's International Relations Round Table for his contributions to international librarianship. He served on the New York State Board of Regents Advisory Council for Libraries and the board of directors of the New York Metropolitan Reference and Research Library Agency and was elected vice president of that organization in October 1999. He also served on the International Federation of Library Associations and Institution (IFLA) Committee on Copyright and Other Legal Matters and the board of the section of Services to People with Disabilities. He was co-chief executive officer of the IFLA Boston 2001 NOC and served as the IFLA representative to the United Nations. He is an active member of the International Association of Metropolitan Libraries. He initiated cooperative agreements with the National Library of China and the Shanghai Library and created the International Center for Public Librarianship at Queens. He also held the post of adjunct professor at Queens College.
Before coming to Queens, he was the state librarian of California, the top administrative post in the California State Library system, from 1980 to 1994. He was a founder and member of the board of directors of the California State Library Foundation and is now a director emeritus of that body.
While with the California Library, he also served as the chief executive officer of the California Library Services board, chairperson of the California Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act board, member of the California Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act finance committee, executive director and ex-officio member of the board of directors of the California State Library Foundation, chair of the Governor's State Literacy Collaborative Council, and member of the Family Impact Seminars advisory board. He started the California Literacy Campaign and the Families for Literacy Program as state librarian. He also created the California Research Bureau for Public Policy at the State Library.
Prior to that he spent four years with the Washington State Library system, as deputy state librarian (1979-80) and associate director for services (1976-79). His career in library management has included positions as director of the Everett (Washington) Public Library, 1973-76; director of the Lake Oswego (Oregon) Public Library, 1967-73; and head librarian of the Markeley Residence Library at the University of Michigan, 1966-67. His earlier career as a librarian included service with the Latah County (Idaho) Free Library, 1966, and the University of Idaho Library, 1963-66.
Among many forms of professional recognition in his career, Strong's honors include the Librarian of the Year award from the California Association of Library Trustees and Commissioners (1994), the John Cotton Dana award from the Library Administration and Management Association (1994), the Advancement of Literacy Award from the Public Library Association (1994), and the Exceptional Achievement Award (1992) from the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies.
Throughout his career Strong has served on a number of leading policy panels, including the Committee on Intellectual Property Rights in the Emerging Information Infrastructure of the National Research Council (1998-99); the Government Technology Conference Advisory Board (1993-94), for which he received the [California] Governor's Award for Exceptional Achievement; and the White House Conference on Libraries (1992).
He has served as a consultant and advisor to the Library of Congress. He is a member of the American Library Association, the California Library Association, the Chinese American Librarians Association, and the Library Administration and Management Association, among other professional organizations and affiliations.
Strong is the author/editor of numerous journal articles on library and literacy issues, and in 1988 he won the H.W. Wilson Periodical Award for his work on the California State Library Foundation Bulletin, which he edited from 1982 to 1994. He authored the chapter Queens Library: Global Reach to Serve Diverse Communities in Libraries: Global Reach – Local Touch, published by the American Library Association in 1998), and wrote the articles A Life in Literacy, American Libraries, December 1998, and LinQing the World to Queens and Queens to the World, American Libraries, October 2000. He regularly speaks at international library meetings on multicultural library service and electronic deliver of information services to multicultural communities.
In 1984 he was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the University of Michigan, from which he earned a master of library science degree in 1967. He received a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Idaho in 1966.
A native of Moscow, Idaho, Strong now resides in Los Angeles. He is married and has two adult children.