For the past three months, the Brookfield Public Library board has been searching for a leader to help lead the institution into the 21st century. On Jan. 26, the board announced that they had decided just who that person would be.
Kimberly Litland, who was most recently the head of adult services at the Warrenville Public Library District, will officially take the reins at the Brookfield Library on Feb. 14. It will be her first stint as a library director.
“We liked her past experience, and we liked that she had been successful as a grant writer in the positions she’s held,” said Library Board President Dianne Duner. “We also liked her energy and the fact that she’s an expert in technology and has experience in the business sector of software technology for libraries.”
Former library director Stephen Bero left Brookfield last November to become executive director of the Warren-Newport Library District in north suburban Gurnee.
Litland has 12 years of experience both as a library staffer and in the corporate world. After graduating from Dominican University in River Forest with a master’s degree in library science, she worked for a time at Moraine Valley Community as a reference librarian.
She later found work as a consultant for two years with Endeavor Information Systems, a software company that specializes in library automation systems. As a consultant, Litland traveled nationwide training librarians how to use the software.
After leaving Endeavor, Litland joined the staff at the Melrose Park Public Library, where she worked as the reference and adult services manager. She joined the Warrenville Public Library district in the summer of 2004.
“It was good to get back into libraries themselves,” Litland said. “It was a wonderful feeling. [In the corporate setting] you don’t create a home for yourself.”
During that same time, Litland participated in a year-long state program called Synergy: The Illinois Library Leadership Initiative. The program’s goal, according to the Illinois State Library’s website is “to recruit and nurture future Illinois library leaders.”
Litland said the experience with the Synergy program has “prepared a lot of librarians to take on leadership roles with regard to issues being debated in the state.”
Two of the most prominent issues are technology and budgeting, a pair of issues singled out at the Brookfield Library.
On the technology side, Litland said she would like to make improvements to the library’s website in order to make it more user-friendly, and to improve the integrated system the library uses.
On the financial side, Litland will soon begin the budgeting process for the 2005-06 fiscal year, which begins in April. Although voters in Brookfield approved a tax hike that will benefit the library in November of 2004, the library won’t begin to see that extra money until the fall of 2005. In the meantime, finances will remain tight.
Once the financial picture is improved, the library will begin to address improvements promised during the referendum campaign, such as a reallocation of space to improve services for young adults, among other things.
“We’re looking for her to implement the information we got back from the survey regarding the needs of the library and the extension of services,” Duner said.