The finalists, according to a library system announcement Monday, are:
- Tess Mayer, Director, Library Outreach, Programs and Services at the King County Library System (KCLS). Mayer joined KCLS in 2015. She worked at The Seattle Public Library for a decade prior to KCLS. Mayer earned a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Washington. Mayer led the development of the KCLS digital literacy ideaX program and the Bellevue Makerspace. Under her leadership, KCLS received an Urban Libraries Council Innovation Award for the Older Adults: Inspire, Engage and Connect program.
- Donna Ohr, Deputy Director of Communities, Strategy and Technology at the San Diego County Library (SDCL), in California, Gale Cengage/Library Journal’s Library of the Year, 2012-13. A graduate of the University of Washington with a Master of Library and Information Science degree, she began at SDCL as a youth services librarian. Ohr engineered SDCL’s shift to a “library of the future” model which involved radio-frequency identification (RFID) conversion of the collection, installation of self-checks and automated material handling systems and creating bookstore-style popular browsing areas and led the building, expansion and renovation of over $30 million in library building projects.
- Lois Langer Thompson, Director of Hennepin County Library in Minnesota, recognized as one of the top public library systems in the United States, with a mission to nourish minds, transform lives, and build community together. A member of the Public Library Association Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force and a recipient of Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers award, Thompson has led Hennepin County Library since 2009. Thompson earned her Master in Librarianship and Information Management degree from the University of Denver. As director, Thompson oversees 41 libraries, a collection of more than 5 million items in 40 languages, and library services available in person, online, and in the community. Thompson’s focus is on innovative, sustainable and accessible library service to ensure the library fulfills its vision that every resident has the opportunity and resources to read, graduate, engage, work and learn.
“We are very pleased with all three of the candidates and looking forward to the next phase of the selection process,” said Board of Trustees President Marti Anamosa.
That next phase includes three days of tours, public events and interviews.
On Wednesday, Aug. 15, each finalist will go on separate tours of library-district facilities across Snohomish and Island counties.
On Thursday, Aug. 16, there will be two public events where all three finalists will have opportunities to share their views and thoughts followed by informal receptions where attendees may engage with the finalists. The two public events are scheduled for:
- 11 a.m., Coupeville Recreation Hall, 901 N.W. Alexander St., Coupeville
- 6:30 p.m., Marysville Library, 6120 Grove St, Marysville
Then, on Friday, Aug. 17, each finalist will be interviewed by the full Board of Trustees. A decision by the board and announcement of the successful candidate is expected by the end of August.
The executive director position is hired by the Board of Trustees. A three-member committee including Anamosa and trustees Susan Kostick and Rico Tessandore conducted the search with the assistance of Library Strategies International LLC. Six semifinalists were identified from a field of 19 applicants and the finalists chosen following initial interviews in late July.
Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory will retire in early December after more than 33 years with the library district and the past 16 years as executive director. A new executive director is expected to take over following Woolf-Ivory’s departure.