Brian Bannon is The New York Public Library’s first-ever Merryl and James Tisch Director. Bannon is the chief librarian responsible for directing NYPL’s 88 neighborhood branches, as well as the Library’s educational strategy. Most recently, Bannon was commissioner and chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Library, serving as chief library officer for one of the largest urban public library systems in the world. Bannon came to NYPL in 2019 with 20 years of experience in developing and implementing educational programs and leading large-scale operations that maximize impact for all citizens and contribute to a culture of learning, reading, and community learning. Before his successful tenure in Chicago, Bannon was Chief Information Officer at the San Francisco Public Library, and worked at the Seattle Public Library and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has been recognized as an innovator throughout his career: amongst many other accolades, he has been named to Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” list, and was named one of Chicago’s top 100 innovators by Blue Sky Innovation, a publication of the Chicago Tribune. Bannon received his bachelor of arts from Pacific Lutheran University and his master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Washington Information School.


  • MLIS, University of Washington, 1999
  • BS, Psychology and LGBTQIA+ Studies, Pacific Lutheran University, 1997


  • CEO Perspectives Fellow, 2019-2020
  • Henry Crown Fellow - The Aspen Institute, 2017-2019
  • President’s Award and Medal - Pacific Lutheran University, 2017
  • Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, 2016
  • Chicago’s Lit 50 by Newcity Lit, 2015
  • Chicago’s top 100 innovators by Blue Sky Innovation, 2015
  • Distinguished Alumni - University of Washington iSchool, 2015
  • Crain’s Chicago Business Tech 50, 2014