Library Trustees approve Heidi M. Daniel as director of Mahoning County system

During a special meeting on Monday, the Board of Trustees of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of the Library Director Search Committee and appoint Heidi M. Daniel as Library Director.

Daniel, of Sugar Land, Texas, was hired at a starting salary of $110,000 and will receive a $5,000 relocation allotment for her move to Ohio from Texas.

“My first priority is getting to know the library and the community: its people, its issues, its strengths and areas of improvement. I want to learn what’s taking place in Youngstown and Mahoning County. I want to know what the residents are like and what their dreams, needs and wants are. I want to explore the library system and I look forward to getting to know the library’s staff,” Daniel said.

“I believe an organization goes from good to great when it has vision based on the community it serves, when it implements the vision in innovative ways and when the staff clearly understands and joins in those organizational visions, goals and strategic plans,” she said.

“I have a variety of experience working with a large library system and am eager to bring new ideas and innovations to Youngstown.” Daniel is a mother to two young children, as well as being an active community member.

Daniel is Neighborhood Library Team Leader/District Supervisor at Houston Public Library. An innovative leader and professional librarian with 11 years of experience working with and managing multiple library locations and system-wide projects, the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County called Daniel highly qualified to take on the duties of the director of PLYMC.

Daniel has worked at Houston Public Library since 2005 and in her current position she oversees management of 16 neighborhood libraries and has a role in developing the vision and direction of Houston PL’s Public Services Division. She started in the system as assistant manager and juvenile librarian, moved to Teen Services coordinator and became head of programming and Youth Services, before being promoted to her current position. Prior to joining the Houston Public Library, she was Teen Services coordinator in Oklahoma City’s Metropolitan Library System.

Daniel holds a master of arts in library studies from Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas, and a bachelor of arts, women’s studies, DePaul University in Chicago.

She was recognized by the Texas Accelerated Library Leadership (TALL Texans) Institute in 2007, and the Beta Phi Mu Honor Society in spring of 2006. She has also been active in the American Library Association, including serving on the Association for Library Services to Children’s 2008 Theodore Seuss Geisel Award committee.

In July of 2011, current director, Carlton A. Sears, announced that he would be stepping down as director after 15 years of service, which have been highlighted by a number of accomplishments. An initial candidate search was unsuccessful and a second phase began. Sears agreed to continue as Library Director in the interim. The Bradbury firm guarantees a successful search, so no additional payment was required to continue the process.

Sears came to the Mahoning County library system in February of 1997, bringing innovative ideas and a genuine love of libraries and the communities they serve. He quickly became active in key organizations and integrated the Library into many facets of the community. Under his tenure, Sears developed the Library as an integral, truly essential, institution in the Mahoning Valley.

“Those that know me know that public libraries are more than a profession to me,” Sears said. “For the past 39 years that I’ve worked in the field, public libraries have been an extraordinarily good fit with my personal passions: engaging individuals and communities and helping each to see their possibilities and realize their potential.”

After the Library, Sears will be joining in the efforts of the small but catalytic nonprofit, nonpartisan Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. The Harwood Institute works with individuals, organizations and communities to develop their ability to make choices that lead to greater impact.

“My interest in working to advance individuals and communities has evolved over time. At the Library, I have used the approaches and tools of the Harwood Institute as a framework for decision-making and to engage groups across the county in authentic conversation.  The work of the Harwood Institute is transformative and tangible. It fits extraordinarily well with my personal aspirations. Were it not for the opportunity to devote my full energies to their endeavors, I would not be leaving a profession I love, and colleagues of whom I’ve grown quite fond, at a time of such great possibility,” Sears said.

The Library Board thanked Search Committee members for their hard work and dedication in choosing Sears’ successor. Members are: Dr. David Ritchie, Trustee president; plus Trustees Alex Benyo, Delores Crawford and Kathryn Bennett; Library Director Carlton Sears; Library Assistant Director Mary Pullin; Library Human Resource Director Ruth Bradshaw; and community member Joyce Brooks, who has actively participated in sessions of Library Strategic Planning, including the current Library 2011 plan.

A starting date for the new director has not yet been determined. Current Library Director Carlton Sears will be leaving the position at the end of July. Daniel will be an at-will employee; the Board did not establish a set contractual number of years.

© 2012 The Metro Monthly. All rights reserved.

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