Howard County Library System
 
Valerie J. Gross Biographical Summary


VALERIE J. GROSS, MM, MLS, JD, has served as President & CEO of Howard County Library System (HCLS) in Maryland since 2001. She takes pride in HCLS’ unparalleled curriculum, which has earned HCLS the prestigious status of best library system in North America from the continent's 21,000 public and academic library systems (2013 Library of the Year, Gale/Library Journal).

 

For this distinguished achievement, she credits the extraordinary HCLS team of educators and support staff who continue to raise the bar for excellence; and the unsurpassed support of the County Executive, County Council, HCLS Board of Trustees, State Legislators, Friends of Howard County Library, philanthropic partners, volunteers, and the dynamic Howard County leaders and community.

 

A passionate promoter of libraries, Gross has led the repositioning of HCLS as an educational institution, which has heightened respect, increased funding, and driven significant increases in annual usage statistics. Since 2001, items borrowed doubled (7.4 million in FY 13), as did research assistance interactions (2 million). Categories that tripled include physical visits (3.2 million), and class and event attendance (more than a quarter of a million). All this in a county of 282,000 residents.

In addition to leading HCLS to Library of the Year in 2013, Gross was honored by the Baltimore Sun as one of “50 Women to Watch: The most intriguing, powerful, and memorable personalities making an impact on the Baltimore region,” plus was the 2014 Recipient of Leadership Howard County’s Youth Advocate Award. A frequent speaker, guest lecturer, and workshop leader, Gross has authored the book Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage. She received the Public Libraries Best Feature Article Award in 2012 and 2010, and was honored as a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2004.
 

An educator and attorney for nearly 30 years, Gross holds a Master of Music from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a Master of Library Science from San Jose State University, and a law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law. She chairs the Choose Civility Board of Advisors and HiTech Board of Advisors, and serves on the University of Maryland's iSchool Advisory Committee, Maryland Library Association’s Legislative Advisory Panel, the Howard County Public School System’s District Planning Team, and Columbia Cultural Master Plan Advisory Committee. She has also served on the Board of Directors of Leadership Howard County, Howard County Arts Council, and Vision Howard County. She is a member of the American Library Association, Public Library Association, Maryland Library Association, Leadership Howard County, and California Bar Association

Ms. Gross grew up in Switzerland and has taught English in China. She and her husband, Tri Q. Nguyen, a classical guitarist and real estate investor, live in Columbia, Maryland. Their son, David, a tennis pro and University of Maryland graduate in pre-med, works at the National Institutes of Health.



EDUCATION

J.D., Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco, California

M.L.S., San Jose State University, San Jose, California

M.M., Voice, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco, California

B.A., Music, Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

Ms. Gross’ publications include:

 

INVITED PRESENTATIONS: Workshops, Seminars, Webinars, Keynotes

 

A frequent speaker, guest lecturer, and workshop leader, Valerie Gross has presented 50+ workshops, seminars, webinars, presentations, and keynotes, drawing the participation of thousands, from 42 states—including Alaska and five Canadian provinces. Examples include:

2015

  • American Library Association Midwinter Meeting Pre-Conference Session: "Who We Are, What We Do, Why It Matters: Our Distinctive Purpose" (January 30, 2015, 8:30 am - 4 pm, McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois)


2014

  • Gale/Cengage Learning Conference for Chicagoland Library Directors: "The Education Advantage: The Library as an Educational Institution" (January 16, 2014, Chicago, Illinois)
  • "Live Twitter Chat with Author of Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand." Tweet Chat on March 4, 2014, 12 pm, EST. Prior to the chat, watch The Education Advantage video (51 min.); event hashtag #transformlib; (sponsored by Gale/Cengage Learning)
  • Public Library Association Conference: "Library Leadership." Presenters: Valerie J. Gross, Howard County Library System (MD); Sari Feldman, Cuyahoga Public Library (OH); and Neel Parikh, Pierce County Public Library (WA). (March 13, 2014, 8 - 9:30 am, JW Marriott, Indianapolis, Indiana)
  • Public Library Association Conference: "Our Education Imperative: Why Your Community Needs You More Than Ever" (March 13, 2014; 3:30 pm, Indianapolis, Indiana)
  • Public Library Association Virtual Conference Session Webinar: “Who We Are, What We Do, and Why It Matters: Establishing Our Distinctive Sense of Purpose" (March 14, 2014; 5 - 6 pm EST; for conference attendees as well as those unable to attend; hosted at Indianapolis, Indiana)
  • Public Library Association Conference Session: “Who We Are, What We Do, and Why It Matters: Establishing Our Distinctive Sense of Purpose" (March 15, 2014; 10:30 am, Indianapolis, Indiana)
  • Infopeople Online Course: "A Smart Partnership: Collaborating Successfully with Your Local Schools" (March 25 - April 21, 2014; infopeople.org; Course Description)
  • Chesapeake Public Library Staff Development Day Keynote Address and Breakout Session: “Transforming Our Image with the Three Pillars Approach: Who We Are, What We Do, and Why It Matters;” “Choose Civility: Creating a Culture, Leading the Way” (April 11, 2014, Chesapeake, Virginia)
  • The Czech Republic:
    • Masaryk University’s Division of Information and Library Studies of the Faculty of Arts Seminar: “The Education Advantage: Why the Czech Republic Needs Libraries More Than Ever.” Part of the University’s “External Expert” series on innovation of library curriculum for students enrolled in the university’s Faculty of Arts program studying for their Master’s Degree. (May 27, 2014, Brno, Czech Republic)
    • Higher School of Librarianship and Administration (HSLA) Seminar: “American Libraries and the Education Advantage.” An overview for students enrolled in HSLA of a leading American public library system and the growing movement that positions libraries as part of the education enterprise. (May 28, 2014, Brno, Czech Republic) (Video of opening)
    • Jiri Mahen Library Seminar: “Libraries: Key to the Czech Republic's Education Enterprise.” A seminar for public and academic library staff members following a library development BiblioEduca session on the meaning of changes in a 21st century library curriculum. (May 29, 2014, Brno, Czech Republic)
    • Moravian Library Workshop: “Who We Are, What We Do, and Why it Matters: Our Distinctive Purpose” A strategic workshop for public and academic library presidents and CEOs and top leadership positions. (May 30, 2014, Brno, Czech Republic)
  • ALA Conference Panel Presentation: “Getting a Bigger Slice of the Pie: Effective Communication with Funders & Policymakers.” Panelists: Valerie J. Gross, President & CEO, Howard County Library System (MD); and Dick Waters, Godfrey's Associates, Inc. (Sunday, June 29, 2014, Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • New York Alliance of Library Systems 2014 Retreat Feature Presentation: "Who We Are, What We Do, Why It Matters: Our Distinctive Purpose." (August 14, 2014, East Greenbush - Castleton, New York)
  • Allen County Public Library (IN) / Library Camp 2014 Keynote Address: "A 21st and 22nd Century Vision: Why Indiana Needs Libraries More Than Ever." (August 19, 2014, Fort Wayne, Indiana)
  • Lincoln Parish Library (LA) Staff Day Keynote/Workshop: “Who We Are, What We Do, Why It Matters: Why Our Community Needs Us More Than Ever.” (September 10, 2014, Ruston, Louisiana)
  • Nicolet Federated Library System (WI) Professional Development Day: "Why Your Community Needs You More Than Ever." Part I: Presentation - "Who We Are, What We Do, Why It Matters: Our Distinctive Purpose;" Part II: Workshop - "The Power of Language;" Part III: Presentation/Discussion - "Strengthening the Pillars" (September 19, 2014, Brown County Library, Green Bay, Wisconsin)
  • Pennsylvania Library Association Conference Public Library Division Breakfast Keynote Speaker: “The Big Idea: Establishing Your Timeless Value in Pennsylvania’s Changing Marketplace;” followed by a Breakout Session, “Making a Splash: How to Implement The Big Idea” (September 30, 2014, Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
  • Library Journal/School Library Journal’s The Digital Shift: Libraries @ the Center (an all-day, all-virtual event) presentation — "A+ and C++: STEM Education Innovation" (October 1, 2014)
  • Sussex County Department of Libraries Staff Development Day Keynote Address: “Indispensable: Why Sussex County Needs Libraries More Than Ever;” followed by a Breakout Session, “Smart: Implementing A+ Partners in Education” (October 3, 2014, Sussex, Delaware)
  • Minnesota Library Association Conference Keynote Address: “Get It Together: Reclaiming Our Purpose for the 21st Century;” followed by a workshop, “Putting It Together,” for participants to begin applying the model. (October 7, 2014, Mankato, Minnesota)
  • Minnesota Library Association Conference Keynote Address: “Get It Together: Reclaiming Our Purpose for the 21st Century;” followed by a workshop, “Putting It Together,” for participants to begin applying the model. (October 7, 2014, Mankato, Minnesota)
  • Gwinnett County Public Library Staff Day Keynote Address: “Who We Are, What We Do, Why It Matters: Why Gwinnett County Needs You More Than Ever” (October 13, 2014, Budford, Georgia


2013

  • American Libraries Association Conference Session, “The Road to Civility: Implementing a Choose Civility Initiative.” Presenters: HCLS President & CEO Valerie J. Gross and HCLS Director of Public Relations Christie P. Lassen (June 29, 2013, Chicago, Illinois)
  • Carroll County Public Library, “The Road to Civility: Implementing a Choose Civility Initiative.” Presenters: HCLS President & CEO Valerie J. Gross and HCLS Director of Public Relations Christie P. Lassen (August 6, 2013, New Windsor, MD)
  • Kitsap Regional Library Staff Development Day Keynote Address, “Transforming Our Image: Establishing a Timeless, Distinctive Purpose” and Breakout Sessions, “Smart: Implementing A+ Partners in Education,” “Choose Civility: Creating a Culture, Leading the Way” (September 26, 2013, Poulsbo, Washington)
  • Norfolk Public Library Staff Training Day Keynote Address, “Choose Civility: Creating a Culture, Taking the Lead” (October 14, 2013, Norfolk, Virginia)
  • Library Media Connection LMC@The Forefront Webinar: "Who We Are, What We Do, and Why It Matters: Establishing Our Distinctive Sense of Purpose" (October 22, 2013, 4 pm EST)

2012
  • Virginia Educational Facility Planners (Virginia’s chapter of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International) Seminar: “Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage” (February 27, 2012, Roanoke, Virginia)
  • Public Library Association Conference presentation: “Choose Civility: Positioning Public Libraries Center Stage” (March 16, 2012, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • Public Library Association Webinar: “Implementing Choose Civility, a Community-wide Campaign” (March 20, 2012, American Library Association)
  • Virginia Public Library Directors’ Association Meeting Seminar: “Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage” (April 26, 2012, Syria, Virginia)
  • American Library Association Presentation: “Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage” (June 23, 2012, ALA Conference, ABC-CLIO)
  • Newport News Public Library System Professional Development Day Keynote Address and Workshop, “Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage” (August 15, 2012, Newport News, Virginia)
  • Jefferson-Madison Regional Library Seminar, “Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage” (August 27, 2012, Charlottesville, Virginia) 


2011

  • Public Library Association Webinar: “Transforming Our Image: No Explanation Needed; Part I, The Three Pillars Philosophy; Part II, Implementing the Vision” (May 18, 2011, American Library Association, Chicago, Illinois)
  • New Hampshire Library Association Fall Conference Webinar: “Transforming Our Image—Part I: Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage; Part II: Implementing the Vision” (November 4, 2011)


2010

  • Urban Libraries Council Webinar: “The Power of Strategic Language in Education” (February 24, 2010)
  • Chester County (PA) Library and District Center Conference Workshop: “Transforming Our Image through Words that Work” (April 29, 2010, Exton, Pennsylvania)
  • Detroit Library Cooperative, Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative, Suburban Library Cooperative and The Library Network Keynote Address and Workshop: “The Playwrights Workshop: Transforming Our Image through Words that Work” (June 8, 2010, Waterford, Michigan)
  • Delta Township District Library Workshop: “Transforming Our Image through Words that Work” (June 9, 2010, Lansing, Michigan)
  • West Virginia Library Association Conference Workshop: “Transforming Our Image through Words that Work: No Explanation Needed” and Seminar: “Implementing the Vision” (October 13, 2010, Roanoke, West Virginia)
  • Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library In-Service Day Workshop: “Transforming Our Image through Words that Work” (October 20, 2010, Norristown, Pennsylvania)
  • Public Library Association Webinar: “Transforming Our Image: No Explanation Needed” (November 15, 2010, American Library Association, Chicago, Illinois)
  • Pennsylvania Library Association Keynote Address: “Transforming Our Image through Words that Work: No Explanation Needed;” and Seminar: “Implementing the Vision” (December 3, 2010, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania)
  • Texas State Library Webinar: “The Road to Civility—Implementing a Choose Civility Initiative," Presenters: HCLS President & CEO Valerie J. Gross, HCLS Director of Public Relations Christie P. Lassen, and Howard County Board of Education Chair Ellen Flynn Giles (December 10, 2010)


2009

  • Maryland Library Association Pre-Conference Session/Workshop: “Convey Your Value Through Words that Work” (May 13, 2009, Ocean City, Maryland)
  • Wicomico (MD) Public Library Staff Development Day Keynote Address and Workshop, “The Indispensable Library: Conveying Our Value Through Words that Work” (October 2009, Salisbury, Maryland)
  • 7th Annual Advocacy Conference Session, “Do Unto Others: Enhancing Customer Service in Eldercare Settings;” Keynote: “The Road to CIVILITY” (November 18, 2009, Baltimore County, Maryland)


2008

  • College of DuPage (Illinois) Press Teleconference Panel Presenter—“Library Challenges and Opportunities: Tools of Engagement: Attracting and Engaging Library Users” (Broadcast Date: May 9, 2008) [http://www.collegeofdupagepress.com/index.php?id=1671]
  • Maryland Association of Public Library Administrators Presentation: “Words that Work: Perception is Everything” (October 3, 2008, Ocean City, Maryland)


2007

  • Infopeople Project (California State Library) Workshop: “Building Leadership Skills: Community Engagement” (May 2007 and February 2008; locations throughout California)
  • Alaska State Library DirLead Conference Keynote Address and Workshop: “Creating the Indispensable Library: Community Engagement” (October 2007, Anchorage, Alaska)


2006

  • California Public Library Directors Conference Presentation: “Reimagining the Library Customer Experience” (May 2006, San Diego, California)
 
Leadership Team