Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez has appointed Ray Baker director of the Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS). Baker’s appointment was unanimously confirmed by the county commission during its July 6 meeting.
“Ray’s library experience, extensive county knowledge, collaborative leadership approach, willingness to innovate, and his commitment to customer service make him an excellent choice to lead the library system,” Mayor Gimenez said. “Since his appointment as interim director in February, our library system has implemented innovative initiatives and partnerships that have helped strengthen our reputation both state and nationwide and I am certain it will continue to do so under his leadership.”
As library director, Baker will be responsible for overseeing the planning and implementation of library services for a 50-branch public library system with a service area of nearly 2.5 million residents.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to serve the residents of Miami-Dade County by bringing them innovative, state-of-the art library programs and services,” Baker said. “We are fortunate to have an extraordinary team at MDPLS that is dedicated to serving the public every day.”
Baker has served Miami-Dade County for 24 years, most recently as interim library director. Under his leadership, MDPLS has implemented new, innovative initiatives and programs including the debut of the Technobus, a mobile computer classroom that brings digital literacy to underserved areas of the county; the adoption of the News Literacy Project in collaboration with the Knight Foundation which teaches kids how to source and know what information to trust, and the creation of MDPLS’s first co-working space, opening soon at the West Kendall Regional Library in conjunction with a new makerspace.
As assistant director for MDPLS prior to his appointment as director, Baker was responsible for public service operations that included MDPLS’s digital learning (YOUmedia) and makerspace (YOUmake) centers, mobile library service operations and library technology initiatives. He also was responsible for the oversight of MDPLS’s capital improvement and development initiatives, budget and fiscal operations, human resources, and marketing and public affairs.
Baker’s wide range of experience and knowledge of county government operations have been an asset in managing and leading an organization of MDPLS’s size and complexity. Previously, he served as chief of Policy, Legislation and Business Services for the county’s Internal Services Department where he managed legislative and policy issues, Fleet Management and other Business Services operations such as countywide printing and graphics, business supplies, capital inventory management and the county’s surplus auction process. He also has served in the county’s Executive Offices and the Office of Management and Budget.
Baker holds a master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida, a master’s in Business Administration from the University of Miami and a Bachelor of Science from Florida State University.
He currently is the vice chair of the Florida Library Association Legislative Committee, a member of the board of directors of the Southeast Florida Library Information Network and has been appointed by the Florida Secretary of State to the Library Services and Technology Act Advisory Panel.
More information about the Miami-Dade Public Library System is available at www.mdpls.org.