DJA Senior Consultant
Gary Wasdin leads and contributes to client engagements including strategic planning, on-boarding, and leadership development. Gary brings more than two decades of experience in libraries, nonprofits and corporations as a transformational leader with a special emphasis on staff development and organizational health. His depth of experience as senior administrator, working with boards and leading change in organizations have positioned him to bring unique skills and perspective as a consultant. Gary’s professional experience includes executive positions in libraries, spanning academic and public, urban and suburban environments. In each of his roles he had significant responsibility for setting and articulating strategy, securing resources, overseeing staff and operations across geographically distributed libraries, being the spokesperson for the library on campus and in the community, and providing programming and services for diverse constituencies.
Gary served as the Director of Staff Development for The New York Public Library when the library system was undergoing significant structural and organizational change. Gary developed and led two major leadership development initiatives focused on enhancing leadership skills and capacity across the system. These programs developed and nurtured the talents of over 100 individuals, most of whom have gone on to positions of library leadership at NYPL and across the U.S. In addition, while there Gary helped create a new Office of Staff Services, replacing the former Human Resources department with a new unit focused on staff talent, recruitment and retention.
While director of the Omaha Public Library, one of Gary’s most significant accomplishments was the development and launch of a digital library, “Do Space,” a free open-access digital playground developed in partnership with local nonprofit foundations. Opened in 2016 as a private 501(c)3, Do Space offers programs and services to kids, teens, adults and seniors in one of the highest traffic areas of the state. From coding classes to maker workshops, individuals have opportunities to explore, play and learn in a welcoming environment. Gary is an active member of Urban Libraries Council, Public Library Association and a variety of other national and regional library and higher education associations.
He has served as an adjunct faculty member in the library science programs at Southern Connecticut State University, St. John’s University and Pratt Institute. He holds an MLS and an MA in English from Southern CT State University, and a BA in theater from Augusta (GA) College. Gary lives in Omaha, NE with his husband, son and dog Chico.