The three finalists for Davenport library director spoke about technology, outreach and combining the two as they met the public Wednesday.
The candidates — Osei Baffour of Grand Prairie, Texas; Selina Gomez-Beloz of Tenio, Wash.; and KennethWayne Thompson of Ellenwood, Ga. — met with several groups Wednesday, including a public meet-and-greet event at the Eastern Avenue branch.
They said technology is important to libraries, but it also requires a balance with traditional service. All three liked the city’s use of technology in delivering library services and thought it was an opportunity to build on.
“This library system is incorporating the technology that a lot of library systems would like to incorporate,” said Thompson, a branch manager in the Atlanta Fulton Library System. “I would share more of the things that are going on with the community.”
Baffour, who is a public service administrator for the Fort Worth Public Library, spent time in the Midwest when his son played football for Grand View University in Des Moines. Researching Davenport, he was excited by the city’s “positivity” toward its library system.
“It is a cultural institution that is very important,” he said. “Libraries have a bright future because of the way they deliver information.”
Gomez-Beloz said she would reach out to the community to build partnerships to provide services that are “efficient and effective.” Her library is considering carrying Nook e-readers from Barnes & Noble, but she knows that is a large expense that has to be weighed by a library board.
“They’re doing a really good job of making a presence for technology,” she said, explaining that groups in the community need to know that. “I like getting out there and meeting people.”
Ken Croken, who serves on the library board, said the interview process is still on course to have a top candidate identified and the position offered by the end of January. Library director LaWanda Roudebush is retiring at the end of the month. She has been director since 2003.
Today: Official interviews with Davenport Public Library board of trustees.
By end of January: Offer made to top candidate.