Home Opinion Editorials Choosing La Grande’s new library director
Choosing La Grande’s new library director
La Grande has what appears to be a solid group of finalists for the
position of library director. The hiring decision will be made by City
Manager Robert Strope, who has been assisted in the process by a
The four finalists are Ken Watson of La Grande, Hollis Helmeci of El Dorado, Kansas, Terri Washburn of Chewelah, Wash., and Geraldine De Rooy of Vancouver, Wash. All four recently gave presentations to the selection committee, which planned to then narrow the field to three. Each had a good presentation, but Watson’s seemed to rise above the others. Similarly, Watson appears to be the strongest candidate. Being local, he has an excellent understanding of the library and its services, its strengths and its weaknesses and what it will take to move Cook Memorial Library to the next level — making it one of the best community libraries in the state.
Whoever, though, is selected by Strope, will need to be committed to enhancing community outreach efforts by encouraging partnerships in the community. The library could benefit from more programs and activities for children. Adults, too. And, as Watson’s presentation addressed, the library should be at the forefront of technology.
Budgets and staffing are tight. The new director will have to be a wizard to pull off any enhancements in these days where simply maintaining the status quo is itself a formidable task. But the Cook Memorial Library needs this kind of leadership.
A library is the hub of a community. La Grande has a beautiful new library in a prime location downtown. Though budgets and staffing are stretched thin, Cook Memorial Library has the potential to become a great community library. Its next director is the person who will shape its future.