Deborah Jacobs, Director of the Global Libraries Initiative, oversees the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work toward improving people’s lives in developing and transitioning countries through useful, used and sustainable public access to information and communications technology in public libraries.
Prior to joining the foundation in 2008, she served as Seattle City Librarian for 11 years. In addition to directing The Seattle Public Library system, Ms. Jacobs led a $291 million capital-improvement program called “Libraries for All” that funded the construction of a new Central Library and renovated, built or expanded 26 branch libraries. During her tenure as Seattle City Librarian, circulation of library materials in the Seattle library system nearly doubled.
Ms. Jacobs began her career as a children’s librarian more than three decades ago and has received a number of honors throughout her career. Among other recognitions, she has been named by Seattle Magazine as one of Seattle's 25 Most Influential People and was included as one of Governing Magazine's Public Officials of the Year in 2001, the first librarian ever to receive this honor. Ms. Jacobs received a BA in Government from Mills College and an MLS from the University of Oregon.