After 16 years of leading the Howard County Library System (HCLS), President and CEO Valerie Gross will depart in August to return to her roots in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Gross’s contribution to the HCLS, the development of “Libraries = Education,” repositioned HCLS as a key educational institution. She led the implementation of a new approach to integrating the system into the community; HCLS was recognized in 2013 as Library of the Year by Gale and Library Journal, was designated a national Five-Star library system by Library Journal and received the Urban Libraries Council’s Top Innovator award for HiTech and its STEM Education initiative for teens.

HCLS also earned international recognition by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Hermes Creative Awards for cover photos of HCLS quarterly magazine, HCLS Now! communications campaign and HiJinx, HCLS’s monthly podcast.

During her tenure, Gross forged lasting community partnerships, including A+ Partners in Education, Choose Civility, Well & Wise and the Enchanted Garden. The HCLS Board of Trustees is working with HCLS leadership and a national recruiter on its search for a new leader.