Robert F. Lambert, President of York County Libraries, is a senior-level leader with more than 25 years of experience building and driving revenue-generating operations for York County Libraries. By thrusting the library into the community and building partnerships with a wide array of nonprofit organizations and schools, he’s ignited revenue growth. Most notably, he’s shifted the libraries’ perception from a “place to check out books” to an entrepreneurial organization that delivers quality services beyond expectation. In summary, he is regarded as a diligent, results-driven team player and problem-solver who is undeniably dedicated to the libraries’ success.
Robert began his professional library career with the Martin Library in 1990 as a Reference Librarian. He progressed steadily through the ranks serving as an Associate Director of Operations as well as the Director of Strategic Partnerships. During his tenure as a Director, he generated more than $1M in revenue by growing a small number of alliances into a strong partnership program as a key component of the library’s Advancement Plan.
From 2008 to 2016, Robert served as an elected official as the Controller for the City of York. Here, he took over an $89M budget and oversaw the soundest investment of every dollar. As a result, he improved the City’s financial condition by reducing budget shortfalls; pension and healthcare liabilities; and infrastructure asset management challenges.
Robert is also an accomplished Project Manager, leading several important initiatives, including The York Housing Authority Project which built a library and computer resource center for low-income housing residents, funded from a $930K HUD grant. He also led The Enterprise Foundation/Department of Commerce/NITA, a federal grant-funded project, totaling +$680K, from the NTIA (National Telecommunications Information Agency), sponsored by the Department of Commerce.
In addition to this, Robert is the Founder and CEO of Libraries Feed, Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage public libraries around the nation to fight childhood hunger. He is fascinated to see the transformation of our libraries engaged in fighting childhood hunger. Specifically, he can recall a time when our libraries prohibited any food or drink to avoid staining books and attracting pests. He also remembers seeing teens try to sneak snacks in the stacks for fear of being reprimanded. Through the work of his foundation, many libraries now realize and have come to accept that a “hungry mind cannot learn.”
Robert is also excited to see hundreds of libraries now serving federally funded summer meals to children to ensure that they do not go hungry. “To pair nutrition and educational activities is a win-win for our communities, our libraries, and our children,” says Robert. If our kids are worried about getting their next meal, it makes it harder to learn.
Robert has been and is an active member on numerous boards and committees, including serving as the Board President for Crispus Attucks YouthBuild Charter School for 10 years. He belongs to various professional organizations such as the American Society for Public Administration, American Library Association, Rotary International, and the Pennsylvania Library Association.
In 2016, Robert was honored with the Martin Luther King Image Award presented by the BMA of York County. He was also featured in Top 100 International Magazine Community Service/Entrepreneurial Business Model for Engaging Libraries to fight childhood hunger.
Robert’s academic credentials include an MPA Degree in Public Administration from The Pennsylvania State University, MLS Degree in Library & Information Service from the University of Pittsburgh, and a BA Degree in Speech Communication from York College of Pennsylvania. He has completed a multitude of continuing education/professional development coursework, including Stanford University’s highly competitive Executive program in Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
[note: Lambert has recently been appointed to the York Traditions Bank Board of Directors]
—Each month, a member of the GAC will be profiled in the Compendium. Learn about the Governor’s Advisory Council.