Dr. Barbara Stites has a long history of leading library organizations of all types, including as Executive Director of two multi-type library consortiums, Southwest Florida Library Network and the Tampa Bay Library Consortium. After more than four decades of library service she retired in 2019 from her role as Interim Dean of the Florida Gulf Coast University Library, one of Florida's 12 state universities. Prior to her work with consortia and academic libraries, Dr. Stites enjoyed 15 years working as a school librarian, an elementary school teacher, a law librarian, and as a business information specialist for Price Waterhouse. She also taught graduate level library administration courses for the University of South Florida’s School of Information, received USF's Jean Key Gates Distinguished Alumni Award, was named Alice G. Smith Lecturer, and continues to serve on their Advisory Board.
Dr. Stites earned a B.A. in Education and an M.A. in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida, and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Education with a specialization in Human Resource Development from Barry University. For the last 20 years, her doctoral work guided her focus on best practices for improving employee and organizational performance and continues to inform her work with library school students, employees, and in coaching Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute participants.
Throughout her career Dr. Stites has held numerous leadership positions in various library professional organizations and was the 2019 recipient of the Florida Library Associations' Lifetime Achievement Award. As President of the Florida Library Association, her conference theme New Possibilities and Partnerships highlighted her strong interest in collaboration and human resource development.