Laura Soto-Barra leads a team of innovative information professionals in her role as NPR's Chief Librarian. Soto-Barra joined NPR in 2005 as Senior Librarian and was promoted to Chief Librarian in 2012. She is the first to hold that role at NPR.
As Chief Librarian, Soto-Barra invites changes to the Library that mirror NPR's growth as a cutting-edge multi-platform broadcaster. She has overseen the evolution of the Library's archive and syndication systems and their integration into NPR's core digital workflow systems. She has advocated an embedded approach to delivering research services to NPR's newsroom to strengthen long term partnerships between librarians and journalists in NPR's newsgathering and other operations.
Under her direction, NPR's Library has become a trusted team of experts inside the organization and beyond. During her tenure, the NPR Library team has been recognized with numerous major industry awards including the ALA's Library of the Future Award, Dow Jones' Leadership Award, SLA's Rising Stars, and Library Journal's Movers & Shakers.
Originally from Chile, Laura began her career there as a librarian in the rarified field of mining engineering at the Universidad de Chile. She and her family later moved to Canada where she earned graduate degrees from the University of Toronto and worked as a librarian supervisor for The Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library and as indexer in Micromedia, an indexing company.
In 1997 she moved to the United States to work for the Morris Newspapers in Florida, which led to an association with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. She went to work to the Advance Newspapers in Syracuse, NY, as their first assistant managing editor in charge of research; shortly after she was invited to be a member of their editorial board.