The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 8, 2013

Jo Ellis: Carthage library director to be announced soon

By Jo Ellis
Globe Columnist

CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Carthage Public Library’s search committee has done its job, and the appointment of a new library director should be announced in the next few days, said Gary Cole, president of the library’s board of trustees.

“We had a lot of good applicants,” Cole said, adding that the committee interviewed several candidates with more education and experience than it anticipated considering the library’s revenue flow.

He said the candidate who was selected has significant experience and holds a master’s degree in library science. “She has experience in grant writing and an excellent public presence,” Cole said.

Jennifer Season, the librarian for two decades, resigned in February to join her husband in Kansas City, where a job change had taken him. Season was first employed by the library in June 1989 and was appointed librarian in 1991.

In the meantime, the board named Dray Wood, the catalog-circulation manager, and Deb Harness, director of youth services, as interim CO-directors to supervise the eight other full-time and part-time employees and the library operations. Wood has been employed since August 1998, Harness since August 1997.

The added duties have kept them busy, but they still have managed to do their regular jobs.

“Our goal is to keep things running as smoothly as they were before,” Wood said.

Those duties include planning the summer reading program. This year, the younger children will be encouraged to “Dig Into Reading,” teens will look “Beneath the Surface,” and adults will be discovering “Groundbreaking Reads.” The themes relate to the various age groups. Harness said children love subjects such as paleontology and dinosaurs. Many teens relate to “zombies” coming out of the ground. Adults are interested in subjects such as gardening.

Wood and Harness are excited about two new programs to be introduced this summer. According to Cole, the library will join Overdrive, an online program allowing library patrons to register their Kindles and gain access to 20,000 electronic books. That should happen in May or June.

“It’s something we have wanted for a long time,” Wood said. “In July or August, we’re going to be migrating to a new system that allows access to books in other libraries in Missouri.” Previously, those books have been available only through a time-consuming courier service.

Cole said the service, titled Evergreen, shares the inventories of about 10 libraries in the state. He said it will allow patrons to renew their membership online, if desired, and should reduce computer expenses.

It appears that the new librarian will be handed a smoothly running operation, thanks to the capabilities of Harness and Wood.

“We’ve been very, very pleased with how they’ve handled it,” Cole said. “They’ve done a terrific job.”

ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE to Jo  Ellis, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email