Public Invited to Meet Library Director Finalists at Community Forum

“Your Next Library Director”: Meet-the-Candidates Community Forum January 14

The Library Board of Trustees has selected four finalists for the Library Director position, all of whom will be in Champaign next week for interviews and to meet community members. The community forum will be held Thursday, January 14, at 6:30 p.m., in the Champaign City Building (102 N. Neil St., Champaign). The forum will also be telecast live on Champaign Government Television (CGTV) and live streamed at ci.champaign.il.us/live.

Community members attending the forum in person or watching on CGTV will have an opportunity to contribute written questions. To contribute questions, send an email to LibraryDirector@champaign.org.

Following the forum, community members are encouraged to provide feedback to the Library Board of Trustees, who will take those comments into consideration as they work toward a final selection. Paper feedback forms will be available to those attending the forum in person, and an online survey will also be available at the conclusion of the forum.

The four finalists for the Library Director position are:

  • Linda Lyshol, Library Director, Ketchikan Public Library, Ketchikan, AK
  • Rick Meyer, Library Director, Decatur Public Library, Decatur, IL
  • Elaina Norlin, Regional Library Manager, Broward County Library System, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Denise Raleigh, Division Chief of Public Relations and Development, Gail Borden Public Library District, Elgin, IL

A brief biography of the candidates is attached to this press release and available online at champaign.org/finalists.

“The Library Board of Trustees values and relies upon community input as we make critical decisions to help our library evolve and maintain its place as a keystone institution in the community,” said Board President Martin Wolske. “We look forward to learning more about each of the distinguished finalists and identifying the right person to lead the Champaign Public Library into the future.”

In addition to the Meet-the-Candidates Community Forum, the finalists will participate in interviews, meetings, and tours January 14 and 15, including:

  • Interview with the Library Board of Trustees
  • Meeting with City Manager Dorothy David
  • Meeting with Champaign Public Library staff
  • Meeting with Champaign Public Library Foundation
  • Meeting with Friends of the Champaign Public Library\
  • Tour of the Main Library and Douglass Branch
  • Community tour

The Library Board anticipates selecting the new Library Director by the end of January.

Contact: Martin Wolske, President, Library Board of Trustees | 217-840-7434 | martin.wolske@gmail.com


Finalists for Library Director

The Board of Trustees has invited four finalists to Champaign on January 14 and 15 to interview with the Board and meet community stakeholders: Linda Lyshol, Rick Meyer, Elaina Norlin, and Denise Raleigh.

Linda Lyshol is the Library Director for the Ketchikan Public Library in Ketchikan, AK, a municipal library serving 14,000 people with an annual budget of $1.3 million. Lyshol has 16 years of professional experience, holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from University of Oklahoma. She considers her project coordinator position for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Sustainability Project during her time working as a Library Consultant for the State Library of Oklahoma as one of the highlights of her career. Lyshol looks forward to the possibility of further connecting the Champaign community “with the power of knowledge, the world of culture and ideas, and of course, the joy of reading,” as the next Director of the Library.

Rick Meyer is the Library Director for the Decatur Public Library in Decatur, IL, a municipal library serving 76,000 people with an annual budget of $3.4 million. Meyer came to libraries as a second career after 10 years working in the mental health field and has over six years professional experience with libraries. He received his Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. One of Meyer’s career highlights is his successful $1.6 million capital campaign for a library building expansion in Waukon, IA. Meyer believes his experience has taught him to be “responsive to the needs of the community, to do more with less, and the importance of strong relationships,” and he would greatly appreciate the opportunity to return to the Champaign community to direct the Library.

Elaina Norlin is a Regional Library Manager for the Broward County Library System, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, a county library system serving 2.8 million people with an annual budget of $60 million. Norlin has 12 years of professional library experience and received her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Norlin is
the author of two books, Usability Testing for Library Websites and E-Learning and Business Plans. Norlin’s strengths include her love of collaboration and commitment to relationship building. She has been able to “pull together large-scale projects by combining technology trends, traditional arts and culture programming, and bringing innovative ideas to life.” She would like to continue to build on those strengths by returning to the Champaign community to lead the Library.

Denise Raleigh is the Division Chief of Public Relations and Development for the Gail Borden Public Library District, Elgin, IL, an independent library district serving 145,000 people with an annual budget of $12 million. Raleigh came to libraries as a second career after 20 years as an attorney and business owner and now has 11 years of library experience. Raleigh holds a Master’s of Library Science degree from Clarion University. One of Raleigh’s career achievements has been her library’s partnership with the census bureau to assist with increasing the community’s response to the census mail-in campaign. Raleigh sees her role at the library as an “ambassador, a meaningful strategist, an excellent communicator, and a team player.” Her skills include “leading a team in a direction that is based on results, partnerships, innovation, and library values.”

Meet-the-Candidates Community Forum: Your Next Library Director – Thursday, January 14, 2016, at 6:30 pm – Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St., Champaign
To contribute questions, send an email to LibraryDirector@champaign.org.