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Director John M. Adams

Director of Library Services
Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library
1983 - 1991


John M. Adams was born June 10, 1950 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated the University of Illinois in 1972 with a BA in English Literature and earned his MLS in 1973. He began his career at Sherman Oaks Branch Public Library as a Reference Librarian until 1975 when he became a Senior Librarian in the Philosophy department. In 1976 he was offered the position of Head of General Readers Services at the Los Angeles Public Library. He stayed until 1978 when he returned to Illinois to become Director of the Moline Public Library. At that time, Adam's curriculum vitae included such activities as Treasurer of the Illinois Library Association's Social Responsibilities Round Table, membership with the American Library Association and Rotary International.

In 1983 John Adams came to Tampa to serve as Director of the Hillsborough County Public Library System. As the previous Director had worked toward the consolidation of the county library system in the early 1980s. Adams followed up his lead and targeted his attention at gearing resources toward preparing the library branches for computer technology, automating the collecton catalog and developing a county-wide branch system.

In keeping up with rapid growth within Hillsborough County, Adams also facilitated the creation of three new branches well as two regional libraries, for a total of 17 branch libraries. Despite these efforts, the Tampa-Hillsborough County Library system was perceived as falling short compared to other metropolitan library systems within Florida.

In 1992, John Adams accepted the position as Director of the Orange County's Public Library system in California. He strived to improve adult literacy by getting the successful program READ/Orange County off the ground. In 2006 he won the award for Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy by the California Library Association Literacy Section for that program.