Caroline Ashby, Director, Nassau Library System

Caroline Ashby, Director, Nassau Library System

Caroline Ashby is the director of the Nassau Library System, a cooperative that supports the 54 public libraries in Nassau County.

Through managing shared services like the Nassau Digital Doorway ebook consortium and IT infrastructure, coordinating group purchases to achieve economies of scale, and providing professional development opportunities and consultant services to library staff, the Nassau Library System works to find efficiencies and improve the quality of public library service in Nassau.

Caroline turned her love of using libraries into a career advocating for them.

Public libraries stand alone as institutions offering intellectual freedom and equality of access at all stages of life. They help people discover themselves, connect to their communities, and reach their full potential. Caroline credits her success to working with an inspiring group of colleagues and partners that share her vision for vibrant libraries deeply embedded in their communities.

Prior to joining the Nassau Library System, Caroline worked in various capacities at the New York Public Library.

She began as a volunteer teaching reading and writing to adults in Harlem, then was a librarian in a Bronx branch library. In her role as chief librarian of the NYPL’s Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, she oversaw the provision of library services to the people with visual and physical disabilities across New York City and Long Island.

The pandemic has opened everyone’s eyes to the critical importance of universal access to technology and digital resources.

In 2021, Caroline led the Nassau Library System’s Wifi Whenever project, bringing free outdoor wifi available 24/7 to over 30 locations. The service is used 7,000 times per month.

The Nassau Library System will soon be unveiling its first Techmobile, an update to traditional bookmobile service. In partnership with Nassau’s public libraries, this state-of-the-art vehicle will bring free, secure wifi, digital literacy training, and access to digital devices to locations throughout the county.

Caroline also advocates for fair access to digital content for libraries and has presented to the state Legislature and appeared on the Capitol Pressroom podcast to discuss challenges libraries face making the full cultural record available to the public, when so much original content is licensed only to individual subscribers.

She has advised the New York State Library on COVID-19 reopening as well as regulations regarding state aid for NYS libraries. She also serves on the board of the Long Island Library Resources Council.

Caroline holds a B.A. from the CUNY Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College and an M.S.L.I.S. from Pratt Institute. She lives in Port Washington with her husband and three children.

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