Library Board appoints new director for Bellingham Public Library

November 29, 2016 12:55 pm
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The Bellingham Public Library Board of Trustees announced today the appointment of Nancy Kerr to the position of Library Director for the Bellingham Public Library. She will begin January 4, 2017.

Library Board of Trustees Chairman J. Gordon said Nancy Kerr is an energetic, enthusiastic professional library director with wide-ranging experiences at public libraries in the Midwest and California.

She currently serves as the director of the Kern County Library in Bakersfield, California, a public library with 24 branches serving urban, suburban and rural communities across an 8,000-square-mile area. She also has served in leadership roles for public libraries in Santa Clarita and Banning, California, as well as management positions at several public libraries in Illinois. She holds a Master of Library Science degree from the University of Illinois.

“It is an honor to be chosen to work with the enthusiastic team at the Bellingham Public Library,” Kerr said. “I was impressed by the library’s statistics on paper, but even more impressed when I met the library staff, Trustees and city staff during my interviews.  I am fortunate to be able to do a job that I would do for free if I could, so I wake up happy every day that I am lucky enough to work in a library. Bellingham has a top-notch library that is well regarded by all. I am looking forward to joining this library and the Bellingham community.”

Kerr steps into the Library Director position now held by Pam Kiesner, who announced in September she would be retiring in January 2017. Kiesner has led the Bellingham Public Library since 2004, and this year celebrates her 40th year in library administration.

Gordon praised Kiesner’s leadership and calming hand at the library.

“She has been an absolute pleasure to work with. She is a strong and creative leader and has an exceptionally thorough, thoughtful approach to library service. She loves her job, and is passionate about public library values and the library’s role serving all individuals and groups in our community,” Gordon said.

“Pam has made many contributions to our library and our community. We thank her for her tremendous commitment and her work to maintain and enhance library services for all, especially in light of the budget struggles that have occurred during her tenure.”

Gordon said Kerr’s appointment is “limited term,” defined by the City of Bellingham as 18 months to three years. He said the Board of Trustees will use that time to work with city officials and the community to explore funding and other options for the Bellingham Public Library.  The Library Board chose to fill the position with an interim director until this study is complete. The Bellingham Public Library is a department of the City of Bellingham, and, like other cities in the region, the City of Bellingham faces financial challenges to maintain existing services. City officials have said developing a sustainable funding model for the library is one of several studies being undertaken in 2017 to identify financial and operational strategies to provide relief to the city budget.

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Media contact:  Janice Keller, Communications, Community Relations and Programming Manager, 360-778-7206 or jkeller@cob.org