An early second-career librarian, Jason Kucsma got his MLS ten years ago after running a social justice nonprofit and print magazine dedicated to amplifying underrepresented voices in media. Kucsma had every intention of working in academic libraries as his second career, but being open to opportunities led him down two incredible paths that have shaped his professional and personal life indelibly. Working first as digital services/emerging technologies manager and then executive director for the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) gave him the opportunity to work with and learn from hundreds of academic, public, special, school, and hospital libraries throughout New York City. During his tenure, METRO launched a statewide on-ramp to the Digital Public Library of America for New York libraries, archives, and museums.
In 2014, Kucsma accepted an opportunity to work for a world-class public library system quietly providing essential services to communities in Northwest Ohio at 20 locations and via mobile services. He worked with a team of library leaders to guide staff and community leaders through a strategic planning process aimed at answering a single question, “What does success look like in Toledo and Lucas County and how does the library support that?” The result is a powerful roadmap for his team as they continue working to meet and exceed the expectations of the communities they serve.
So while Kucsma was set on being in an academic library at first, he’ll tell you he’s found his place and his people in public libraries. He’s here for the long haul.
Kucsma lives outside the city of Toledo with his wife and their 4-year old twins affectionately known as “The Bright Stripes” on social media.
“Strong libraries build strong communities, and strong libraries need strong leadership. Libraries have remained relevant and vital through countless cycles of technological, cultural, and political evolution, because of our industry’s ability to honor the tradition of our institutions while keeping our eyes on the ways people will need and use libraries in the future. Leadership from organizations like PLA and ALA is essential in helping us identify trends, share best practices, and continuously evolve, and I welcome the chance to be part of that work.”