After more than four years at his post, Salt Lake City Public Library Executive Director Peter Bromberg will be moving on in May.
Bromberg has taken a job working for EveryLibrary, a national library advocacy group, according to a library news release. He told the library’s board of directors in a letter that after working in libraries for nearly 30 years, he feels called to focus on advocating for library funding and support.
His announcement comes days after The City Library announced plans to reopen in a limited way on March 15. During the pandemic the library transitioned to fully online services.
“As I began thinking more seriously about the timing of my departure, I realized that there is no good time,” he said in a quote addressed to library staff in the news release. “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.”
The library system did away with fines for late books in 2017 under Bromberg’s leadership. At the time, he told the Salt Lake City Library Board that fines were the most negative experience for library staff and patrons and that they disproportionately impacted disadvantaged people. He said a Lyft driver in Atlanta had told him she grew up loving her library but late fees for her three children turned into an extra bill she couldn’t afford at the end of the month. The board unanimously voted to eliminate the fees.
The news release says book check-outs increased 16% after the fees were gone. Late fees accounted for only 0.3% of the library’s budget so their loss was not significant.