Carnegie Corporation's Vartan Gregorian to speak at Opening Session

Contact: Leonard Kniffel
Editor in Chief
American Libraries
For Immediate Release
June 8, 2007

Carnegie Corporation’s Vartan Gregorian to speak at Opening Session

CHICAGO - Vartan Gregorian, president of the philanthropic Carnegie Corporation of New York, will speak at the Opening General Session of the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Washington D.C., sharing the stage with former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley. The program is scheduled for June 23, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Hall D of the Washington Convention Center and will begin with a screening of “100 Years of American Libraries in Three Minutes,” a video rapid-fire history of the magazine on the occasion of its centennial.

Gregorian will talk about what the next 100 years is likely to bring for libraries.

A distinguished American scholar, Gregorian served as president of the New York Public Library from 1981 to 1989 and president of Brown University from 1989 to 1997. He has received the National Humanities Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. He also has received (as of 2006) honorary degrees from 56 institutions. In 2000, Gregorian was awarded Honorary Membership by the American Library Association, ALA’s highest honor, for lifetime achievement.

As president of the New York Public Library, Gregorian initiated the magnificent renovation and beautification of the historic main library building, revitalized the library, and increased its endowment from $94 million to $180 million. Under his leadership, the Carnegie Corporation marked the centennial of founder Andrew Carnegie’s gifts to establish public libraries across America by awarding $15 million to the New York, Brooklyn and Queens Borough public libraries and to libraries in 22 other cities.

Accepting the ALA Honorary Membership award, Gregorian said, “I am grateful for this honor because of the importance of libraries in my own life and in the life and philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie, the Corporation’s founder. To Andrew Carnegie, it was not an exaggeration to say that the public library ‘outranks any other one thing that a community can do to help its people.’”

Gregorian documented much of his private life in his 2003 autobiography “The Road to Home: My Life and Times" (Simon & Schuster, 2003).