Seattle City Librarian Deborah L. Jacobs, who joined the library system in 1997 and spearheaded a remarkable period of building new libraries, is leaving on August 10 to become deputy director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Libraries Initiative. The announcement is a surprise, as Jacobs had expressed her desire to serve many more years as City Librarian. The new job meshes well with Jacobs' passion for reaching out to immigrant communities, an effort that has been a hallmark of Seattle Libraries and will now extend to people in many nations. Her new job will be to lead Global Libraries, which is focused on reducing inequities by expanding and improving public access to technology in libraries. In Seattle, Jacobs is best known for leading the ambitious "Libraries for All" program, including passage of a $196.4 million bond issue in 1998 and the construction of many new branch libraries that provide richer meeting places for neighborhoods and display excellent architecture. The Central Branch, designed by Rem Koolhaas, became an immediate architectural sensation and dramatically increased usage of the building and the system. Jacobs has also been a formidable fundraiser, and under her leadership the Seattle Public Library Foundation has raised $82 million for library construction and endowments. It is not at all unusual for the person who leads a major capital drive to depart relatively soon afterward, as the excitement ebbs and offers from elsewhere increase. In addition, Jacobs has had a somewhat guarded relationship with Mayor Greg Nickels, who has not put a lot of budget resources into building up the collection for the new library, preferring to put dollars behind keeping branches open for more hours. The mayor does not appoint the City Librarian, but he appoints the five-member Library Board, who appoints the Librarian. That board is now headed by Eric Liu, who said board members will soon develop a plan for choosing Jacobs' successor.