New Glenwood, Carbondale library branch managers on board
Finance manager serving as interim executive director for Garfield County Library District
Garfield County Public Libraries are gradually staffing back up following the departure of several branch managers earlier this year, including new managers at the Glenwood Springs and Carbondale libraries.
Joining the Garfield County Public Library District as Glenwood Springs branch manager is Daniel Messer, a former college and correctional center librarian from the Chicago area.
The new Carbondale branch manager is Tracy Kallassy, who hails from upstate New York and most recently managed the Arlington Public Library in Arlington, Va. outside Washington, D.C.
Following the resignation of former Library District Executive Director Brett Lear in August, the district board named District Finance Manager Kevin Hettler as interim director, said James Larson, communications and marketing director for the district.
A search for a new executive director is expected to commence soon, he said.
In the meantime, the district is working to fill three other branch manager positions in New Castle, Silt and Rifle, Larson said.
Meet Daniel Messer
Messer grew up in Ingleside, Illinois, north of Chicago, and said he fondly remembers spending time in the children’s area of his hometown library, often looking at dinosaur books.
“And getting VHS tapes of Bill Nye the Science guy,” he said.
After graduating with a master’s degree in library management from Dominican University in 2016, Messer worked as a reference librarian at McHenry County College. That was followed by a stint as lead librarian at a medium security correctional facility in Pennsylvania.
“That was part of what shaped me to going into public libraries work,” Messer said of the prison gig, which was a hybrid of legal reference materials and a general library collection.
“A lot of it was just helping inmates find the right books for whatever they needed,” he said.
After that job ended, he saw the opening for the Glenwood branch manager position. With some his family already on the Front Range of Colorado, Messer said he decided to put in for the job.
“When I came out here and got to tour the libraries, I kind of just fell in love with the community,” Messer said.
Messer said he brings a collaborative approach to the job and is anxious to help steer the Glenwood branch back as it reinstates hours and renews programs that had been cut in recent years.
Libraries across the district have recently been adding back morning hours, and are gearing up to expand evening hours after the first of the year, Larson said.
“I like the freedom that each of the branches have,” Messer also said of one of the things that attracted him to the Garfield County Libraries. “I also like that there is a lot of camaraderie with the staff and the other branch managers.”
Messer said he enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy, but “I’ll read almost anything,” he said.
Recently, Messer started a monthly chess club at the Glenwood Library, which meets on the third Thursday.
Meet Tracy Kallassy
Kallassy graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an undergraduate degree in English and a master’s in library science in 2012.
After heading up the Arlington Library, she said she has enjoyed the change of pace at the Carbondale branch.
“I knew I wanted to come to Colorado, and when I saw the job had opened up here, it felt like the perfect fit,” Kallassy said.
“There are a lot of good things happening here in terms of the library system with the increased positions and additional funding,” she said of the recently approved dedicated property tax for the Garfield County Libraries.
“It just seems like a really exciting time to be here,” Kallassy said, adding that a new youth services coordinator has also recently joined the branch.
“I feel like there’s a lot of excitement in the community for what we’re doing, and every time we introduce something new people are just thrilled,” she said. “Libraries are such an essential part of the community, and recognizing that and having fun in our jobs is really important.”
Kallassy said she enjoys hiking and rock climbing, and looks forward to learning how to ski.
She said her reading interests are broad, but of late she’s “been on a mystery kick.”
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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