Welcome home, Gabriel Morley.

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We're glad that the Slidell native is returning to the area as executive director of the New Orleans Public Library, where he will oversee 230 employees. Handling a system the size of the Orleans library is no small task.

With 15 years of experience at a diverse group of libraries, Morley has a strong foundation. The larger Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System he led has more than 34 branches and 3 million collection items. The New Orleans library serves patrons at 15 locations with about 1.6 million items.

Before leading the larger Atlanta library system, Morley headed the library system in Lake Charles. He was the Lincoln Memorial University director of university libraries in Tennessee and was director of the three-county public library system in southwest Mississippi prior to that. Morley started his career at the Washington Parish Library System. He's the author of “ Building Workforce Literacy in Libraries: Connecting Communities with Opportunities.”

Libraries face continuing challenges in the digital age, so it's helpful o have the full support of the top municipal official when starting a job like this one. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell endorsed Morley’s candidacy.

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“With Dr. Morley at the helm, we will build libraries for the future — libraries that harness technology to enhance learning, libraries that are responsive to the unique communities in which they are situated, and libraries that have an open door to everyone — regardless of their literacy level, socioeconomic status, age, race or creed,” she said. “In partnership with Dr. Morley, I look forward to embarking upon this next phase as we strengthen a system of libraries across our city that our people deserve.”

We look forward to seeing what Morley brings.