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Director Leo H. Meirose, Sr.

Director of Library Services
Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library
1972 - 1982

Biography

Leo Meirose was born on October 25, 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Xavier University in 1945 and a Masters of Library Science degree from Case Western Reserve University.

His long and successful career as a professional librarian began in 1952 with the Cincinnati Public Library System. He served in various posts and branches, such as Director of Films and Periodicals, before becoming Director of Branch Libraries. In 1964, he accepted the position of Director of Libraries for the City of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Mr. Meirose came to Tampa in 1972, as Director of Libraries. His decade as director was highlighted by the expansion of the Central Library and of the Brandon Branch. New libraries included the Talking Book Library, Citrus Park-Keystone Branch, Riverview Branch and East Gate Branch. Mr. Meirose made hiring professional librarians a priority resulting in two librarians staffing each branch by the time he left the system. In 1981, when the Tampa City Council ordered the removal of six sex educations books from the Children's Collection, he refused, charging censorship and arguing, "...the library cannot carry out its role in the community in such an atmosphere of fear." He is credited with helping to solidify an interlocal agreement relating to library services between the city of Tampa and Hillsborough County and a joint library board.

During Mr. Meirose's tenure he was President of the Florida Library Association, and a founding member of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium. He was presented with the Intellectual Freedom Award for his work concerning public access to literature.

In 1982, Mr. Meirose returned to the Cincinnati area to become the Director of Libraries for Clermont County, Ohio. In 2001, he returned to Florida, residing in St. Petersburg until he passed away on August 30, 2007.