Timberland Library Director assessment open thread

All but one of the community forums have been held (there’s one tomorrow morning in Shelton at 9:30 a.m.), and I attended the one in Tumwater tonight. In front of a packed house, the four candidates answered questions from the audience for 90 minutes.

The questions ranged from how to sell supporting library services to other governments and the community, outreach and how to make sure we’re serving everyone equally. I thought the candidates did a great job all around answering the questions and I’m looking forward to the input.

So, if you attended a forum, use the comment thread below to discuss the candidates.

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4 Comments

Filed under What Timberland is doing

4 responses to “Timberland Library Director assessment open thread

  1. Well, I just attended last night, in Tumwater. It was great to see a packed house, and I thought the questions that were asked (and the responses given) were all very good.

    Speaking (personally) from my standpoint as a TRL patron and as someone who works with a lot of libraries in WA State, I feel like Leonard Hernandez really stood out from the crowd as an excellent example of the kind of energy and leadership that libraries should be clamoring for in these changing times. Leonard is truly a library director for the 21st century, and I believe that he would do a wonderful job of revitalizing TRL and motivating its staff.

    I think the board will find that, in general, the response from these forums will agree with me (it certainly seemed so from the people I talked to), and I sincerely hope that the board will take this feedback seriously as they consider their decision. (If anything I think that this feedback should be the single most important factor in this decision.)

    [Note: I am not a Timberland employee, but a librarian at the Washington State Library. The above thoughts are my own personal thoughts, and do not reflect in any way the position of the State Library or my other colleagues.]

  2. kelsey

    I’m not sure I should be publicly declaring opinions, but I’m going for it anyhow and copying Ahniwa’s boilerplate at the end. Leonard Hernandez and Barbara Pickell both stood out for me as strong candidates for different reasons. Leonard has the politician’s edge, he’s energetic and has great ideas, he was the one out of all the candidates that suggested the most specific solutions to some of the problems our library system is facing in these times. Barbara was less flashy, but thoughtful, steady, and unflappable. I’ve read about her in the press, and she seems like she’s successfully navigated her previous systems through some difficult decisions. She also has a strong commitment to intellectual freedom, which is an issue that I think is central to the mission of a library.

    [Note: I am a Timberland employee. The above thoughts are my own personal thoughts, and do not reflect in any way the position of the Timberland Regional Library system or my other colleagues.]

  3. Andrew Poultridge

    I agree with the comments already posted. Leonard is my first choice and Barbara my second based on what I saw in Tumwater the other night. While not a Timberland employee, I did some work with TRL as part of my recently finished MLIS studies and did receive a stipend.

  4. Scott

    I’m a TRL employee and I would echo Kelsey, with some additional comments about Linda Mielke. First, she seems a little too committed to outsourcing as a strategy for budget reduction. I find this especially troubling given her close relationship with Library Systems and Services, Inc. (LSSI). I’m not implying anything nefarious here, but in my experience in libraries, professional relations often seem to have some influence on decision-making by managers. Secondly, in reading her background and a paper she co-wrote, “Swimming Upstream,” her relations with and attitude toward unions seem negative. She was also part of LSSI’s transition team when they were given the contract for running the Jackson County Library in OR. LSSI ignored labor law and refused to recognize the existing union. They were eventually forced to recognize it by the National Labor Relations Board. I realize Mielke may not have had anything to do with the decision to not recognize the union, but her connection to LSSI in this regard makes me uneasy. Naturally, as a member of the TRL Staff Association (TRLSA) I view all of these as negatives, but I think that regardless of your view on unions, hiring a director with these connections and seeming attitude toward unions doesn’t bode well for harmonious relations between TRL and TRLSA.

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