One of the best features of being the new Executive Director of the Poudre River Public Library District is meeting patrons from our community and listening to them explain how much they love our library. While I love hearing these stories, I am also reminded that the Poudre River Public Library District is only as strong as the support it receives from the community.
Our vision statement speaks to our hope that the Library District "is dynamic, responsive, and integral to the fabric of our community". Our Library, through it collections, programs, services and partnerships, is molded and improved by the diversity of our community. We are the first place patrons can go to learn about how our government works. Our collections come from very diverse sources so that all points of view can be researched, analyzed and understood. The Poudre River Public Library District has many trained professionals who navigate patrons toward quality, dependable sources that provide perspective needed to understand many of the impending changes we may see in the coming months.
As Executive Director of the Library, I believe we must build upon the underpinning of the basic tenet that has guided our library's development-providing access to information, ideas and experiences that make Fort Collins a better place to live, work and play.
There has been concern from residents in our library district of feeling fearful or unwelcome in our current social environment. The Equal Access Poster that hangs in all of our library locations is simply a document to affirm the Library's steadfast assurance to maintaining an inclusive environment that serves and welcomes ALL people.
The Poudre River Public Library District will never condone any behaviors that spread bigotry, discrimination, stereotyping, harassment or racism.
We open our doors daily to offer an environment where people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures can find a caring and supportive environment whereby users can engage in lifelong learning, creativity and discovery. Everyone is welcome here.
It's not uncommon to see the Poudre River Public Library District's new executive director, David Slivken, out and about around the community and visiting staff and customers at the three library locations. He's only been in town since late October, but he's already managed to indulge in many of Fort Collins' fabulous restaurants (even with a potbellied pig snug in a stroller at the next table), take in the Old Town holiday lighting ceremony, and meet with many community members to talk about 21st century libraries.
Among the many things David already loves about the community, he points to the friendly and welcome reception he's received from everyone he's encountered.
"Fort Collins is so accepting and laid back," he says. "It's made the transition to a new town and new job very easy."
David joins the Library District after 20+ years spent in various library leadership roles, most recently as Assistant Director of Public Services at Dayton Metro Library in Dayton, Ohio.
He says he was drawn to the Poudre River Public Library District for a number of reasons. Even before the executive director position was available, David had already heard great things about the Library District from a boss who had visited during a library conference. That, combined with having family in the area and being an outdoor enthusiast, made the Fort Collins area a perfect match. However, what sealed his interest in the executive directorship was the strong impact the Library District is having in the community and its opportunity for growth.
"I've already heard from many community members who have come up to me to bend my ear about the libraries. I've very receptive to that," David explains. "I'm listening to what they'd like to see in the future around new facilities, parking, and library opportunities."
In the first few months of his tenure, David plans to connect with as many library staff and Fort Collins and Northern Colorado community members as possible to establish good relations. On his first day of work, he visited all three libraries to introduce himself to staff and library customers, and to invite them to stop by his office and "bend his ear" about the library. Plus he's participated in storytimes, celebrated Old Town Library's 40th birthday with a cake cutting, and, of course, picked up his new library card.
As part of his outreach into the community and its many people, David has met with Mayor Wade Troxell, city council members, and many other public and private sector representatives to hear about the community's needs and learn about opportunities for the Library District to play a continued proactive role in the community.
"Public libraries really function like free, public universities, providing everyone with free access to information and ideas," David believes. "We serve as an important platform for learning by not just absorbing and delivering content to our customers but by helping them create content whether they're starting a new business, writing a novel, or being creative in makerspaces. It's about lifelong continuous learning."
The Poudre River Public Library District is excited about the upcoming arrival of our new executive director David E. Slivken on October 24. He comes to the Library District from the Dayton Metro Library in Ohio with more than 20-years of professional library experience including library operations and community engagement.
"Our mission is to enrich our communities through universal access to ideas and information," said Linda Gabel, president of the Library District Board of Trustees. "David has the leadership qualities to guide Poudre River Public Library District to the next level and to keep libraries vibrant and current for our communities."
David's background uniquely positions him to assume the executive director position, as he has demonstrated success in responding to diverse community needs, supporting innovative programs and services, and facilitating library growth. At the Poudre River Public Library District, David will be responsible for continuing to shape the District into a dynamic, responsive, and integral resource in the community.
And, he'll hit the ground running even before he officially assumes his new position. David, along with other Library District staff, will attend CALCON16: Innovate, Inspire, Connect, a joint professional conference between the Colorado Association of Libraries and the Mountain Plains Library Association. He'll also be attending the inaugural FoCo Book Fest: Brewin' Up Books, the free public literary festival produced by the Library District in partnership with CSU Morgan Library.
Upon accepting the executive director position, David stated, "I'm honored and humbled by this opportunity, and I look forward to joining this wonderful organization. I'm excited to work with the talented library staff and our community partners as we continue to advocate for literacy and lifelong learning."
The Poudre River Public Library District will be hosting a Community Meet & Greet for the public to hear from and ask questions of the final three candidates for Library District Executive Director. The community forum is free and open to the public. It will be held Thursday, August 11 from 5:30-7:30pm at the Coloradoan Community Room, 1300 Riverside Ave., Fort Collins.
The three finalists for the Executive Director position are Christian Kruse, Kari May, and David Slivken.
Each finalist will give a short presentation addressing what they see as 2-3 major opportunities facing the Library District going forward and how, as the Executive Director, they will specifically address them. After the presentations, the candidates will sit as a panel to answer questions from the public. A short reception will follow.
The Executive Director job was posted in April and closed June 12, and included a national search in collaboration with library consultants Bradbury Associates/Gossage Sager Associates.
Kruse, Christian. Kruse is the former Library Director, Live Oak Public Libraries, Savannah, GA. Prior to accepting the position of Director he was the Deputy Library Director, Live Oak Public Libraries and his career encompasses 26 years of professional experience. During his career, Kruse managed 12 facility construction projects; envisioned, planned and executed the Savannah Children's Book Festival attracting 45,000+ people; spearheaded a successful referendum for funds to build a new library; and leveraged technology to continue to offer collections, services and programs at the library during the economic downturn. Kruse currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Georgia Council of Public Libraries and is active on several Savannah community and civic organizations. He has a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Western Ontario.
May, Kari. May is currently the Assistant Director, Utah State Library Division, Salt Lake City, UT, where she oversees the Resources and Development departments, led the State Library's strategic plan, and manages the state's librarian certification process. Prior to coming to the Utah State Library, May served as Director, Pines & Plains Libraries, Elizabeth, CO and has 16+ years of professional library experience. During her career, May served as the Colorado Association of Libraries President, oversaw a complete rebrand of the Pines & Plains Libraries, and mentored former staff members who have become Directors. May received the 2015 President's Award from the Colorado Association of Libraries. She has a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and a Master's Degree in English from the Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.
Slivken, David. Slivken is currently the Assistant Director, Public Services, Dayton Metro Library, Dayton, OH, after previously serving as the Assistant Director, Main Library Services in Dayton and has 20+ years of professional library experience. Slivken serves on the Downtown Dayton Priority Board and is proud to have been a library supporter navigating a successful $187 million bond issue funding a new $64 million Main Library and 16 new branch locations. Slivken now serves on the design and construction committee for the new facilities. He also has implemented system-wide centralized selection through the development of the Collection Development Office and created the "AskME Line" call center for the library system. He has a Master's Degree in Library Science from the University of Iowa.
Holly Carroll, Executive Director of the Poudre River Public Library District announced her retirement this spring. She will be leaving the District after nearly seven years in Fort Collins, and her last day will be May 5, 2016. Holly came to the Library District in 2009 from Cleveland, Ohio after a nation-wide search. Ohio is known nationally for its innovation in library services and Holly brought that innovation to Fort Collins with her vision, drive, skill and experience. As the Executive Director she worked collaboratively with the seven-member Board of Trustees, the County and Library staff to deliver new services and programs to a region with significant growth and potential.
The Library District focuses on education and continuous learning, creating a sense of place, and building sustainable external partnerships throughout northern Larimer County. The Library's three locations, anchored in Fort Collins, circulated 3.2 million items in 2015. The District with Holly at the helm has implemented many new programs and services. Among the changes and improvements that she brought to the community are floating material collections, creation of the Outreach Services department, remodel and expansion of Old Town Library and updates to Harmony and Council Tree Libraries, acquisition of Webster House Administrative Center, the addition of more book drop sites, creation of Answer Center for centralized telephone customer reference, circulation of e-book readers, elimination of extended use fees for picture books, a new website, and extended open hours for public access.
She also created and maintained many strong community partnerships to extend library service to the public. She worked with CSU and Old Firehouse Books to initiate collaborative author events, initiated the CSU Student RAM Card Student ID/Library card program, worked with Poudre School District on cooperative database subscriptions, worked with the City and County on the community broadband initiative and more.
Embrace the Colorado lifestyle as Poudre River Public Library District's next Executive Director! Is the headline put out by library consultants Bradbury Associates/Gossage Sager Associates who have been hired by the Library District Board of Trustees to do a nation-wide search for Holly's replacement. Bradbury Associates has specialized in executive searches for libraries of all types since 1983 and will work with the Board on the selection process. The position announcement was advertised this week at http://www.gossagesager.com/poudread.htm and will close on June 12, 2016 with finalists being interviewed the week of August 12. Ken Draves, Deputy Director and Manager of Harmony Library will work as interim Executive Director until a new Director is hired.
It is certainly with mixed emotions that I write my last column for the Poudre River Public Library District monthly newsletter. I am retiring as Executive Director May 5th after nearly seven years with the Library District. The Board of Trustees is conducting a national search for my replacement and hope to have a new director in place this fall.
When I arrived in September 2009 I was new to Colorado having lived in Ohio all my life. Now, I call myself a Coloradoan and feel very fortunate indeed to have had the opportunity to work and live in such a vibrant and growing community and to lead such a dynamic public library.
Upon reflection our library family: staff, Board of Trustees, Poudre River Friends of the Library and Library Trust, have much of which to be proud. Together we modernized our three buildings, refreshed library park, introduced to the community a vast array of digital materials and new technologies, planned and presented programs for all ages and interests, and reached beyond library walls to deliver services to individuals and groups where and when needed. Together we developed strong partnerships with Colorado State University, Poudre School District, Front Range Community College, local government and businesses, and many community agencies.
It is difficult to say goodbye to my role as library director and to a career spanning over forty years but I know I am leaving a Library District that is well prepared for the future and open to new opportunities and challenges. I am grateful for many things--a talented staff, a wise governing board and dedicated affiliate groups (Friends of the Library and Library Trust) and most of all, an appreciative and receptive community. I once mentioned early on to a library trustee that I have died and landed in library heaven. I still believe it. Thank you for your on-going support and use of the library.
April is the granddaddy of months for celebrating and showcasing the important services and learning that happens in libraries every day.
Libraries across the nation will celebrate National Library Week, April 10-16, an opportunity to showcase all the many services libraries provide to our community. Be sure to pick up one of our Libraries Transform bookmarks that list some of our unique services. Library Workers' Day, April 12, is designated as part of this special week so please take time to thank a staff member who has provided excellent service to you this past year. This same week is also National Volunteer Week when our library salutes our 200 talented and devoted volunteers.
And wait, I'm just getting started...
April is National Poetry Month. Join us at Harmony Library for the Battle of the Bards poetry event on April 29. Winners of this annual competition will read their poetry to a very appreciative audience.
Join the Library District as we celebrate, Money Smart Week, April 23-30 at Harmony and Old Town Libraries with a series of financial literacy programs for all ages. , now in its sixth year, is a national initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) and Federal Reserve Bank.
And last but certainly not least, April is the month of the Young Child. The Library District begins the month with El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros (Children's Day/Book Day), another national initiative supported by the American Library Association (ALA) that emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. This year many of our literacy programs for youth and families will highlight the life, work and heritage of artist Frida Kahlo. Exploring Frida's life and legacy will allow the community to learn about this remarkable Mexican artist. A finale to our celebrations is the Frida Fashion Comes to Life event on April 30 where 25 children from the community will model Frida and Diego Rivera outfits.
As in past years, the Library District will also participate in the One Book 4 Colorado, a statewide program in which all Colorado 4-year olds receive a free book from their public library. Join us for the kick-off giveaway event, Dancing in the Streets, on Saturday April 16 at Old Town Library.
March will certainly "come in like a lion" with a special author appearance of Bill Bryson on Sunday, March 6, Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom at 2:00 p.m. This ticketed event is a fundraiser for future author presentations sponsored by the Friends of the CSU Morgan Library and the Friends of the Poudre River Public Library District. Mr. Bryson is the humorous New York Times best-selling author of such travel tales as A Walk in the Woods. He will discuss his recent books, The Road to Little Dribbling and Notes from a Small Island. Tickets must be purchased at CSUTix.com or call 970-491-4849.
The Library District continues to partner with Fort Collins independent book seller, Old Firehouse Books, to connect popular authors with readers at our libraries. Science fiction writer, Victoria Schwab, will visit Old Town Library on March 1 to promote her most recent novel, Gathering of Shadows. Joining her for a panel discussion are Colorado authors Brenna Yovanoff and Emily Hainesworth. On March 16, T. Jefferson Parker appears at Council Tree Library to discuss his latest crime thriller, Crazy Blood.
Unlike the familiar March proverb, the month will not "go out like a lamb." Doug Bradley and Craig Werner, authors of Rolling Stone magazine's best music book of 2015, We Gotta Get Out of this Place, will speak on Friday, March 25, 7:00 p.m. at the Hilton Fort Collins. The authors explore how and why U.S. troops during the Vietnam War turned to music as a way of connecting to each other, home and of coping with the complexities of the conflict. Rounding out the month on March 31, C.J. Box returns to the Council Tree Library to talk about his latest Joe Pickett novel, Off the Grid.
The Library District is partnering for a second year with local non-profits Growing Project and Home Grown Food Colorado to host the ninth annual Seed Swap and Give-Away at Old Town Library. Join other gardening enthusiasts to exchange seeds and starting soil, ask questions of master gardeners, attend a free gardening class and simply share knowledge. The event runs from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. See www.HomeGrownFoodColorado.org for speaker schedule and detailed information.
I'm happy to announce that the New Year will bring more opportunities to use and visit our libraries! Beginning January 4th, the Library District will launch expanded operating hours. All three libraries will open at 9:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday. In addition, Old Town and Harmony libraries will open at noon on Sundays instead of 1:00 p.m.
The new hours of service, starting January 4, are listed below:
Poudre River Public Library District strives to be a safe and welcoming space for providing services and access for all patrons. Old Town Library attracts a diverse group of patrons who use the library for many different reasons. Most of us have some sort of personal situation we deal with in our lives; some of those situations are more challenging than others. Our library has the opportunity to host a Master's of Social Work (MSW) Intern to refer patrons desiring assistance in connecting to community resources for mental health care, substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, and other life situations. We look forward to participating in this pilot project, as the Library District continues to partner, connect, and share information with other community organizations. Several public libraries across the nation (including Denver Public Library) have hired social workers as a part of their regular staff.
We are pleased to announce that Brendan Haggerty has accepted the position of Master's in Social Work Intern with the Library District. His internship begins in mid-January. Brendan is a student at Colorado State University. He has extensive paid and volunteer service with Catholic Charities shelter, the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, and student teaching at Boltz Middle School. He will be placed with us for the spring semester running from January through May 2016. Brendan's "home" library will be Old Town Library, although he is not limited to service there.
Library employees work with hundreds of patrons each day. While very skilled and knowledgeable, staff members are not trained in the specifics of how to work with individuals in need of social services. Brendan's work with patrons will help connect those in need to critical support services resources and information, thus freeing up staff to complete library and information work for which they are trained.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. The Old Town Library has provided space for VITA volunteers for many years. This year volunteers will be on hand on Mondays and Thursdays between noon and 5 p.m. VITA services are also available at the Council Tree Library on Thursdays, 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. The VITA program runs from February 1 through April 14 and assistance is provided on a first-come first served basis.