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In February 2021, after a decade of distinguished service as Chief Librarian, Marcellus Turner announced that he had accepted a position as CEO/Chief Librarian for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in Charlotte, N.C. Turner’s last day leading The Seattle Public Library was March 31. The Library Board appointed Tom Fay to serve as interim Chief Librarian beginning on April 1.

The Library Board is now conducting a national search to find Seattle’s next Chief Librarian, who will be responsible for overseeing the work of all 27 locations of The Seattle Public Library.

Search Advisory Committee Formed

On February 23, The Library Board formed a Search Advisory Committee comprising nine members with deep experience in library operations and community engagement.

The Search Advisory Committee includes the following members:

  • Vaughnetta J. Barton, Committee Chair, former Library board member; former practicum instructor for the University of Washington’s School of Social Work
  • Cindy Aden, Professor of Practice and Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the University of Washington Information School; former Washington State Librarian
  • Carmen Bendixen, Library board member and senior transportation planner for Washington State Ferries; former Friends of The Seattle Public Library board president
  • Anne Cisney, AFSCME Local 2083 union president, The Seattle Public Library
  • Tali Hairston, Library board member; director of Advocacy, Organizing and Development for Seattle Presbytery
  • Yazmin Mehdi, former Library Strategic Planning and Projects assistant for the Chief Librarian; former Library Council of Washington board member; former district director for Representative Pramila Jayapal
  • Robin Mendelson, former Seattle Public Library Foundation board member; senior fellow for Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative
  • Jonna Ward, CEO of The Seattle Public Library Foundation
  • Rona Zevin, Former Friends of the Seattle Public Library board president

National Search Begins

On June 24, The Library Board hired search consultant Koya Partners to conduct a national search for The Seattle Public Library’s next Chief Librarian.

Koya Partners was selected due to their proven track record recruiting and placing strong candidates for large municipal and academic library systems; their emphasis on diversity and inclusivity in recruitment; their experience in the Seattle market; and their professional expertise in public engagement and communication.

Koya Partners will conduct the search with guidance and direction from the Library Board and in collaboration with the Search Advisory Committee.

In September 2021, the firm held stakeholder interviews and conducted a stakeholder survey to inform the search and hiring processes.