It has been six months since the city of Denison has had a person in the full-time library director. In that time the Denison Public Library has nearly completed its summer reading program, and staff is working to continue to offer a variety of services while the search for a permanent director continues.
The position of library director became vacant in January when then-director Kimberly Bowen left the position to join the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. At the time, Bowen was heralded by city representatives as having turn the library around.
At the time the position became vacant, the city didn’t offer a time-table for finding a replacement, and now the city is preparing for the next step in the process as it moves into the second interview process.
Denison Community Engagement Director Sunny Mackey said the city has narrowed the search down to four candidates and is currently starting second interviews.
“The timeline will depend on how the second interviews go,” Mackey said. “When we find the right individual to lead our team we hope to on-board the new director as soon as possible.”
Once a new director has been found the city will have to work with them to relocate, and accommodate any children they may bring with them. Mackey said the library team has been keeping up with the needs of the community while continuing to grow, and the search is for someone who can continue to invest in the programming the citizens have come to expect.
Community and Development Services Director Kimberly Murray took on the role as interim director following Bowen leaving the position. Murray recently left that position to focus on her development responsibilities. Beginning July 1 Employee Services Director Amy Lay has taken on the responsibilities of the library director.
“We want to get the right leader in there,” May said. “It is not a process we want to rush through. It is a testament to the staff over there how they clearly know their roles and priorities. It has been a smooth process working through the search to fill that position. Hopefully our patrons haven’t seen any difference in our operations without a director.”
Associate Library Director Steve McGowen said people may not notice the lack of director because a lot of the libraries children’s activities are planned well in advance.
“The staff has worked really hard to make sure our offerings remain at the same level,” McGowen said. “If anything it has been an opportunity for everyone on staff to step up. We have ideas from the whole group. We try to get everybody’s input so we can get the best ideas.”
Deborah Wise has been serving as children’s program director and Zoe May has been running adult programs. The summer program has included a wide variety of activities for children ranging from animals to robots to a magician.
May said it hasn’t been too difficult for her to remain in touch with the library staff while maintaining her duties as employee services director because she already works with all employees on a regular basis.
“For me it has been a great opportunity to work more closely with the professionals we already have in our library,” May said. “ It is a great reminder of all the excellent services the public can enjoy at the library. As a city of Denison it is nice for me when I am looking for things for the kids. It is also encouraging to see kids reading during the summer break from school.”
What would you like to see in the future from the Denison Public Library? Let Denison area reporter Richard A. Todd know at RTodd@HeraldDemocrat.com.