Kelvin Watson, Executive Director
As the new executive director of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, Kelvin Watson brings innovative, award-winning leadership to Nevada’s largest library system. Mr. Watson joined the Library District from his role as the director of the Broward County Libraries Division, where he managed 700+ full-time employees and a budget of more than $70 million. The Broward County library system serves 1.9 million people through 38 locations in the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida region.
Regarded as one of the most highly respected thought leaders in the library industry, Mr. Watson is credited with expanding his customer base in past library management roles, through outreach efforts to underserved and diverse populations. His deep experience in fundraising, technology, program development, plus his demonstrated success in addressing the digital divide, will help the Library District to further expand its role as a free resource for educational services to all residents.
During his tenure at Broward County Libraries, Mr. Watson brought transformative change through ambitious and groundbreaking initiatives, such as streamlining access to resources, introducing new technology, and developing partnerships and new collaborative relationships with internal agencies and community groups. Under his leadership, the Florida Library Association (FLA) named Broward County Libraries as the 2020 Library of the Year; FLA named Mr. Watson as the 2019 Librarian of the Year; and the American Library Association (ALA) named the Broward County Libraries as the Library of the Future, all of which he credits to the work of his staff.
Previously, he served as COO/senior vice president for Queens Borough Library in New York City, after rising through the leadership ranks of the organization from a distinguished background in technology. In his prior role as chief innovation & technology officer/vice president, information, technology, and development, he was instrumental in establishing several groundbreaking programs, and he developed and implemented digital divide strategies, which promoted equality and equity for all.
Mr. Watson started his career as a Commissioned Officer in the Active US Army and Army Reserves. He transitioned into the private sector as a leader with Ingram Library Services, Borders Group, and The Library Corporation (TLC). These positions fueled his passion for the field of library science and he went on to join the USDA National Agricultural Library.
Throughout his career, Mr. Watson has remained active and involved in professional associations, as both a frequent, international speaker and panelist at conferences and an author of articles in national library publications. He serves on the San Jose State University School of Information, Leadership, and Management Program Advisory Committee and is a past president of Black Caucus of American Library Association, currently serving on the Board of Directors for its Book Industry Study Group. He also serves in the following roles for these professional organizations: member of the Public Library Association Board of Directors; American Library Association Co-Chair for the Digital Content Working Group; and the Florida Library Association Co-Chair Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility Task Force.
He has received numerous awards for his leadership within the library industry, including: the 2016 inaugural winner of the American Library Association’s Ernest A. DiMattia Award for Innovation and Service to Community and Profession; the 2017 DEMCO/ALA Black Caucus Award for Excellence in Librarianship; and as the 2019 Community Service & Distinguished Achievement Honoree by the Friends of the African American Research Library and Cultural Center.
Mr. Watson earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and a Minor in Military Science from Lincoln University in Missouri. He earned his Masters of Library Science Degree from North Carolina Central University and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.