Carson City Library director candidates meet the public; vote Thursday | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City Library director candidates meet the public; vote Thursday

Teri Vance

If you go

WHAT: Carson City Library Board of Trustees meeting

WHEN: 5 p.m. Thursday

WHERE: Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

Feedback from the community will play an integral role in the selection of the Carson City Library’s new director.

“Trustees will be using the interviews and the community input from the meet and greet to select the library director during the May 30 meeting,” said Interim Director Diane Baker. “We appreciate all the input we’ve received from everyone involved.”

More than a dozen community members participated in Friday’s meet and greet, where they asked questions of the three finalists vying for the director position.

The three candidates are Cyndi O, director of the Nevada Library Cooperative; David Seckman, branch manager in the Pierce County Library System in Graham, Wash.; and Joe Schweiss, library director in Bullitt County, Ken.

Schweiss began his career selling books in bookstores. That changed when a father came into his store looking for books to help him understand a rare disorder after his daughter’s diagnosis.

Knowing the prohibitive cost of medical textbooks, Schweiss directed the man to the library instead.

“If I knew the library was the place to go, I realized that’s what I should be doing,” Schweiss said.

When O left the Air Force, she wasn’t sure of her next career move.

“I distilled what I did for my military job into being able to use a lot of different sources to answer people’s questions,” O said. “I realized, that’s a reference librarian.”

David Seckman said his leadership style has always focused on keeping his staff happy.

“My philosophy has to do a lot with people, putting people over processes,” he said. “That translates into ‘wow’ customer service. Customers can’t believe what kind of service they got, and that translates to advocacy in the community.”

The candidates addressed the changing roles libraries are playing — balancing traditional textbooks with technology — in their respective communities.

O commended the Carson City Library for embracing emerging technologies, such as virtual reality and the computers for community access.

“The fact that there’s so many computers upstairs, that’s critical,” she said. “There are so many of them, and they’re always in use.”

Seckman said it all begins with the work culture.

“I think it’s really important to have a sense of joy in the workplace,” Seckman said. “When we’re having fun, that spurs creativity, which spurs innovation.”

Schweiss said it is important to involve the community in deciding which programs to embrace.

“For 50 years, libraries have been a safety net to do what other organizations in the community are not doing,” he said. “Innovation needs to be spurred by what the community needs.”

Participants in the meet and greet were encouraged to write their comments or email them in. The comments will be presented to the Carson City Library Board of Trustees during the Thursday meeting.