Li­brary di­rec­tor to re­tire June 30

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CHERYL MATTIX

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— Ce­cil County Public Li­brary Di­rec­tor Denise Davis will leave her job of the last 15 years for a new role that will keep her in touch with the li­brary com­mu­nity.

Davis will go from her cur­rent paid po­si­tion June 30 to the vol­un­teer po­si­tion of vice pres­i­dent of the Mar yland Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion on July 1. In 2017, Davis will be­come pres­i­dent of the MLA.

“I don’t see my­self as ever fully re­tir­ing,” Davis said. “I’ll re­main en­gaged in pro­fes­sional ac­tiv­i­ties and con­sult­ing, while hav­ing more time to write, bi­cy­cle and travel.”

The li­brary an­nounced her re­tire­ment Fri­day, re­veal­ing that As­sis­tant Di­rec­tor of Public Ser­vices Mor­gan Miller will serve as act­ing di­rec­tor, ef­fec­tive July 1. Mean­while, the li­brary board of trustees has al­ready be­gun its search for a per­ma­nent di­rec­tor.

Dur­ing Davis’ ten­ure, the li­brary re­ceived nu­mer­ous awards, in­clud­ing the In­sti­tute of Mu­seum and Li­brary Sci­ence Na­tional Medal,

ELK­TON

the na­tion’s high­est honor for li­braries. That honor cul­mi­nated in Davis, Li­brary Board Pres­i­dent Ken Wig­gins and other li­brary rep­re­sen­ta­tives vis­it­ing the White House to ac­cept the award in 2015.

“I credit my staff, the board and all of the cit­i­zens who en­thu­si­as­ti­cally use and sup­port the li­brary for this award,” she said.

When Davis ar­rived in Ce­cil County in 2001, the li­brary sys­tem was fac­ing 21st-cen­tury chal­lenges.

Un­der her lead­er­ship, the county li­brary sys­tem has made ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy, life­long learn­ing, busi­ness as­sis­tance, youth ser­vices and com­mu­nity part­ner­ships,

as well as brick-and-mor­tar im­prove­ments and ren­o­va­tions to its seven branches.

“One of our chal­lenges as li­brar­i­ans is to al­low our users to learn to break down bar­ri­ers to learn­ing and take ad­van­tage of what we can of­fer,” Davis said.

Ten years ago, Davis in­tro­duced the Small Busi­ness In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter to the li­brary. The SBIC shares re­search data and of­fers ac­cess to a busi­ness li­brar­ian for county en­trepreneurs.

Among the new, ex­panded or ren­o­vated branches un­der Davis’s guid­ance are Port De­posit, Ch­e­sa­peake City, Per­ryville, Ce­cil­ton, Elk­ton and Ris­ing Sun. Plans are cur­rently await­ing ap­proval for a pro­posed North East operation.

In 2013, CCPL re­ceived the Maryland Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent’s Cus­tomer Ser­vice Award, and in 2011 won the Mary-

land Cham­ber of Com­merce Non­Profit Part­ner in Busi­ness award – the only li­brary to ever re­ceive this honor.

“Our li­brary has changed smartly and rapidly in key ar­eas to keep up with the com­mu­nity’s chang­ing needs,” Davis said, not­ing that tech­nol­ogy has driven much of the changes.

Davis is pas­sion­ate about li­braries and peo­ple, es­pe­cially chil­dren. She’s proud of her staff and the im­prove­ments they’ve made to the “Sum­mer Reading Pro­gram,” by part­ner­ing with the public school to reach more chil­dren with needs to en­cour­age their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the sum­mer pro­gram.

“We’ve had a 50 per­cent in­crease in reg­is­tra­tion in sum­mer reading from Title I schools,” Davis said. “Re­search shows these pro­grams have a pos­i­tive im­pact on high

school drop-out rates.”

Her col­leagues ex­pressed mixed feel­ing about her de­par­ture.

“It’s def­i­nitely bit­ter­sweet,” Friends of the Li­brary Amanda But­ler said. “She’s an amaz­ing per­son and leader who is an in­spi­ra­tion to her staff. We’re proud of her and happy to con­tinue to keep her vi­sion for the li­brary go­ing into the fu­ture.”

Erica Jeso­nis, eBranch man­ager of CCPL, cred­its Davis with in­spir­ing her to seek a new ca­reer. When Jeso­nis started work­ing at the li­brary part- time 10 years ago, she never dreamed it would be­come her ca­reer.

“I had been a high school teacher for seven years be­fore I started at the li­brary,” she said. “It sparked some­thing in me and I dis­cov­ered a love for the pro­fes­sion.”

Jeso­nis refers to Davis as a

won­der­ful boss and men­tor.

“She’s very eth­i­cal and she cares deeply about her job and the com­mu­nity,” Jeso­nis said.

Davis said she is ex­cited about her new role with the state as­so­ci­a­tion be­cause it will al­low her to con­tinue ad­vo­cat­ing for li­braries across Maryland.

“I think Ce­cil County has been on the lead­ing edge of change and I look for­ward to shar­ing Ce­cil County Public Li­brary’s vi­sion with other li­braries,” she said.

But for the next two weeks Davis still has work to do, in­clud­ing clean­ing out her of­fice.

“I will miss my staff the most, but I won’t lose touch with them,” she vowed. “I’ll also miss the com­mu­nity and all the op­por­tu­ni­ties I’ve had in Ce­cil County to make a dif­fer­ence and do mean­ing­ful work.”

DAVIS

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