UpZones #44: Marcellus Turner

Upisode 44: Seattle’s Chief Librarian Marcellus Turner stopped by the bookstore — he got there before any staff did! — and looked back on his career in library administration, which dates back to the 4th grade in Mississippi. He details the challenges to the Seattle Public Library system in the face of such rapid socioeconomic change, explains why people love libraries so much, and lists the strangest encounters he’s ever had with patrons.

About Marcellus Turner

Marcellus Turner oversees The Seattle Public Library, which includes the world-renowned Central Library and 26 new or renovated branches. The Library operates on a $63 million budget and has 684 staff members. Several years ago, Seattle voters approved a seven-year, $123 million levy to support Library operations and building maintenance. The busy system serves almost 14 million visitors per year and circulates almost 12 million books and materials. Turner serves on the University of Washington Information School’s MLIS Advisory Board and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville College of Communication and Information’s Board of Visitors.

He is the former executive director of Jefferson County Public Library in Lakewood, Colo. Prior to joining Jefferson County Public Library in 2002, Turner was assistant executive director of the Rockford Public Library in Rockford, Ill. He has also worked at Tacoma Public Library in Tacoma, Wash., and Atlantic City Free Public Library in Atlantic City, N.J. In addition, he held several positions with academic libraries in Tennessee and Louisiana.  He holds a master’s degree in library science from the University of Tennessee.

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