Library News: Libraries enter search for next executive director
The Garfield County Libraries will soon be recruiting a new leader. Current Executive Director Jesse Henning has recently accepted the executive director position at the Barrington Area Library in Illinois, bringing him closer to his family in the Midwest.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to work with the dedicated librarians and staff of the Garfield County Libraries. I will miss this place and appreciate the support I’ve received in pursuing this new opportunity for my family,” Henning said.
Henning moved from Ohio in August 2016 to join the Garfield County Libraries. Soon after, the libraries learned of a 30 percent decrease to their operating revenues for the 2017 fiscal year. Henning became executive director that October and immediately got to work on transitioning the libraries to the new budget reality. During the initial transition, Henning could often be found working at the front desk of libraries throughout the district and even led Storytime in Parachute for a few months.
“We appreciate Jesse’s leadership in getting us through a difficult time in the Library District’s history,” said the Garfield County Libraries’ board President Todd Anderson. “His enthusiasm for libraries will be greatly missed.”
The library board of trustees met last Thursday to finalize a plan for the transition. As a result of the meeting, the board is now in active negotiations with an internal candidate for the interim director position. The board also sent out a request for proposals with the intent of retaining a search firm to recruit a new executive director. The board is looking to leverage a search firm’s resources to find the right qualified candidate quickly.
The library board believes the talented staff, modern facilities, engaged community members, and outdoor amenities of the county make for a desirable library director position. The libraries have a rich history in this area, and are celebrating their 80th anniversary this year. In addition to the long-standing tradition of book lending, the libraries have modern facilities that meet the needs within their communities — including greeting over 425,000 visitors last year and hosting over 4,000 local civic groups, nonprofits, and businesses in the meeting rooms across the district. Additionally, library staff are putting the finishing touches on a new strategic plan that takes advantage of thoughtful input from the public and community leaders.
“Our Garfield County Libraries have a lot of key pieces already in place,” said Anderson. “We’ll be looking for an enthusiastic candidate who can build on our foundation and confidently lead us into the future.”
Emily Hisel is brand manager for the Garfield Public Libraries.