The New Guard: Ginnie Cooper

Ginnie Cooper

Chief Librarian, District of Columbia

The onetime head of the Brooklyn Public Library is eager to dispel a couple of librarian stereotypes: “I don’t have a bun in my hair, and I rarely say, ‘Shhhh.’ ” But, says Ginnie Cooper, head of the District’s library system since 2006, “I do care passionately about books and reading.”

During her six years on the job, Cooper has reenergized the libraries—bringing striking architecture to the new Shaw and Tenleytown branches and making the Georgetown library better than ever after a devastating fire—all part of a grand building plan that will see 14 of the city’s 26 libraries renovated or replaced. The efforts are yielding dividends: Even as e-reading takes off, more people than ever are checking out books, the number of items circulating has tripled, and the number of kids attending library programs has increased by 76 percent.

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