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NY State Librarian Bernie Margolis Remembered Warmly

New York State Librarian Bernie Margolis is being remembered fondly in educational circles.  Margolis died Saturday at 69 after an eight-year battle with leukemia.

Appointed in 2009, Margolis oversaw the State Library in Albany, which delivers services through 7,000 academic, public, school and special libraries around New York. Before that, he was president of the Boston Public Library for more than a decade. Current Boston Public Library President David Leonard says Margolis’ legacy will live on.

“He made a huge impact on our institution.  He was one of the first leaders to really turn us from an inward-looking institution to opening our buildings up, opening our collections up.  I know that those who worked with him will really be taking the next few days to celebrate his legacy,” says Leonard.

Leonard says Margolis championed youth education within the Boston Public Library system. He appointed a children's librarian in every branch, shaping nationally-recognized Homework Assistance and online tutoring programs. Margolis also implemented a Reading Readiness effort for preschoolers.

New York state Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and state Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia, in a joint statement, highlighted Margolis’ achievements, saying “state funding for public library construction more than doubled and participation in Summer Reading at New York Libraries grew to more than two million young people” during Margolis’ tenure.

Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, a Democrat from the 106th District, says Margolis’ tireless effort in improving the library system will not be forgotten.

“He was a fierce advocate for libraries throughout his career.  But, during his time in New York, [he] went out of his way to try to ensure that the library got the resources that they really need to get the work done.  We were very pleased this year, and I know he was as well to get $20 million in construction aid over what the governor had put in his executive budget, into the budget this year,” says Barrett.

After two years as State Librarian, Margolis was diagnosed with cancer. His obituary posted on the Levine Memorial Chapel’s website speaks to his support system and attitude during his treatment. It reads in part “The ups and downs of his health were buoyed by knowing he would always come back to the magnificent state library building in Albany and his dedicated staff. He also knew the national library community had his back because of his commitment and love of libraries and all the lifelong learning they offer everyone who walks through their doors.”

Margolis is survived by his wife, Amanda, and a brother.

Services were scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Original Post:  April 17, 2018

New York State Librarian Bernie Margolis is being remembered fondly in educational circles. Margolis died Saturday at 69 after an eight-year battle with leukemia.

Appointed in 2009, Margolis oversaw the State Library in Albany, which delivers services through 7,000 academic, public, school and special libraries around the state.  Earlier, he was president of the Boston Public Library for more than a decade. Current Boston Public Library President David Leonard says Margolis’ legacy will live on.

“He made a huge impact on our institution.  He was one of the first leaders to really turn us from an inward looking institution to opening our buildings up, opening our collections up.  I know that those who worked with him will really be taking these next few days to celebrate his legacy both at B.P.L. and New York and indeed to the profession of librarianship," says Leonard.

Services are set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Levine’s Memorial Chapel in Albany.