In the midst of a massive investment in branch expansion and renovation, Columbus Metro Library's chief maintains a broader focus on service and culture.

In the midst of a massive investment in branch expansion and renovation, Columbus Metro Library's chief maintains a broader focus on service and culture.

What does the library of the future look like? Patrick Losinski's work as CEO of the Columbus Metropolitan Library system has revolved around that inquiry since he took the position in 2002.

The conclusion he's reached is this: Regardless of how advanced a library system's technology, of how modern its buildings or vast its collections, libraries are all about people. The people who work in them and the people in the communities they serve.

"We see the results of people using our materials and our computers, getting homework help, or learning how to complete a resume," says Losinski. "There is a tremendous sense of self-satisfaction for our employees for giving back and helping people in our communities that need it most."

For the past two years, the spotlight has been on the Columbus Metropolitan Library's $120 million investment in new branch construction and renovation. By 2017, the library system will have built or renovated 10 branches as part of its 20/20 Vision Plan. In 2015, Losinski oversaw construction on four branches, including a $32 millionrenovation of the historic, 255,400-square-foot main library Downtown.

His broader focus, however, has been on strengthening leadership development and workplace culture within the institution.

"How do you help bridge and facilitate the learning and the understanding among people?" Losinski asks. "I think that's a really important part of my role and the role for every CEO. It's important as a CEO to be very thoughtful around the culture of your organization. In addition to being the chief executive officer, you're the chief culture officer."

Columbus Metropolitan Library staff members are "deeply committed to the purpose of libraries," he says. Often, he'll bump into new employees a few weeks after having spoken with them during orientation.

"People that come here move very quickly from 'this is a job,' to 'this is my calling,'" says Losinski.

That calling has evolved rapidly in the digital age. The Columbus Metropolitan Library system loaned close to 17.5 million items this year. One and a half million of those were digital downloads from the library's online collection of 100,000 eBooks and audio books.

In addition, the library is a primary source of digital technology and Internet access for people in low-income neighborhoods. Nearly1.8 milliontimes a year, people reserve library computers in 30- or 60-minute slots. The system provides free broadband Internet access to visitors through the Ohio Public Library Information Network.

New methods of learning and literacy increasingly take place in groups and online. The system's investment in renovated spaces and up-to-date technologies facilitates the training and education that adults and children access in Columbus libraries every day.

Most of the people served by the Columbus Metropolitan Library system use its resources without any particular concern for who the CEO happens to be, says Losinski.

"Their CEO is the person in their neighborhood branch in Franklinton or Linden. It's someone who connects with them and delivers on the service promise and expectations they have."

Losinski will spend the near future implementing a refreshed values and mission statement across the organization. Columbus Metropolitan Library will also roll out a Leadership Academy standardized training program for its library managers.

The training will generate consistency in the philosophy and leadership style among library managers across all of the system's locations, Losinski says. "I really hope we make some great progress in the coming year."

Finalist • Large Nonprofit

Charles Gehring,President and CEO

LifeCare Alliance

President and CEO Charles Gehring has focused on increasing LifeCare Alliance's services and developing innovative programs to provide better social services to central Ohioans in need.

Four recent mergers have greatly increased the social services organization's capacity: the Central Ohio Community; Project OpenHand Columbus, the Columbus Cancer Clinic, Madison County Meals-on-Wheels and IMPACT Safety. LifeCare A lliance also operates social enterprises, including LA Catering, Carrie's Café, corporate wellness programs and immunization services.

In 2015, LifeCare increased social entrepreneurship and fundraising to 36 percent of its revenue. It took over Meals-On-Wheels in Champaign and Logan counties when the agency operating them closed. LifeCare's crowning achievement this year has been its continuation of a policy to accept all clients in need.

Finalist • Large Nonprofit

Rev. Larry Crowell,President and CEO

Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio

Reverend Larry Crowell brought three decades of experience as a hospital executive to Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio when he was hired as CEO in 2011. His core focus on LSS's social services mission is bolstered by his operational expertise.

Crowell is currently implementing a new long-range plan focused on promoting holistic support for its clients and the community as a whole. In 2014, CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence became part of LSS, and is preparing a campaign to finance construction of a new shelter.

The new LSS Delaware County Food Pantry hit its stride in 2015, providing additional capacity to serve families through four mobile food pantries.

LSS is renovating a 43,000 square-foot addition to its Faith Mission to provide expanded shelter for homeless men and women in central Ohio.