Top shelf: Garfield County Libraries undergoing leadership transition |

Top shelf: Garfield County Libraries undergoing leadership transition

With six libraries and six construction projects in the last seven years, the Garfield County Libraries have recently completed a large amount of transition. The Parachute and Rifle branch libraries are currently celebrating their fifth anniversaries in their new buildings, while the newest buildings in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs are enjoying their second anniversaries.

Recently, the Garfield County Libraries also finished strategic and marketing plans based on the newly established mission, vision and values. With these tools now in place, the libraries are planning for a bright future with a continued increase in usage.

After an incredibly successful time with the Garfield County Libraries, including being selected as the 2013 Colorado Librarian of the Year and the 2014 Garfield County Humanitarian Service Legacy Award winner, Amelia Shelley recently resigned from her position as executive director. She will take the helm at Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, which serves over 450,000 people, later this month. Shelley said, “Leaving this job has been a tremendously difficult decision for me, but the job in Vancouver is a great opportunity for me and puts me closer to my kids in Seattle.”

When Shelley announced her resignation, the library board of trustees immediately got to work and considered several candidates to take over during the transition period between Shelley’s term and the hiring of the next executive director. After careful consideration, Sandi Kister was selected as the interim executive director.

Kister comes to the Garfield County Libraries with a wealth of library knowledge. She began by shelving books in her home town library in Hope, Rhode Island. She also worked part time as a librarian during her college days in Washington, D.C. There, she decided to become a librarian full time, and obtained her master’s degree in library and information sciences at the University of Rhode Island. She was also a children’s librarian and branch librarian during her time in Rhode Island. Most recently, Kister served on the Garfield County Libraries’ board of trustees, and is taking a leave of absence from the board in order to take over as interim executive director.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to see the Library District through this transition,” Kister said. “I want to make the transition to a permanent executive director as smooth as possible for the staff and the communities we serve.”

“We are fortunate to have someone who has intimate knowledge of our work, and is also qualified to take the reins,” said Marilee Rippy, who is a member of both the Library District board of trustees and the Executive Director Hiring Committee. “We feel very comfortable with the transition. Over the next few months our committee will be evaluating our options with the goal of continuing to make our Library District a valuable resource for our community.”

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