The Delaware County District Library (DCDL) has identified its next director as Bryan Howard will take over leadership of the local library system following George Needham’s retirement next month.
Needham is set to wrap up his career on Sept. 3o after five decades of work in public libraries, including serving as the DCDL director since 2015. Howard will begin serving as the director on Sept. 1, affording him a month to work alongside Needham and learn the system.
While new to Delaware County, Howard has an extensive background in public libraries with 25 years of experience in a variety of library roles. Most recently, he has served as the director of the London Public Library in Madison County for the past five years and has also served as the director of the New Carlisle Public Library in New Carlisle, Ohio.
Prior to his director roles, Howard held library roles that included technical services, outreach, circulation, and both children’s and adult services. Having served nearly every aspect of a public library, Howard said he’s well-suited to address whatever issues he and his DCDL staff may face in the years to come.
“I can relate to the employees a whole lot better,” Howard said of his wide-ranging experience. “I know what kinds of situations they could be put in. I can better help them with what their needs are and help them through different situations. I have that background where I can say, ‘Yeah, I’ve experienced this situation and this is what helped me get through it.’ That’s always nice to have.”
Asked what stood out to him about the director role becoming available at DCDL, Howard laughed before saying, “Because it’s Delaware County.”
He added, “It’s one of the fastest-growing communities in the country. It’s just booming. George (Needham) did wonderful things for the Delaware libraries. I’ve had a good working relationship with him through (the Central Library Consortium), and I just wanted to be a part of it. I got to hear firsthand all the amazing things they were doing, and I’m just very excited to be a part of it.”
As he approaches three decades of service to public libraries, Howard said his career has been rooted in the thorough enjoyment he gets from helping people. However, his love for the library started him down that path many years prior to choosing it as a profession.
“As a teenager, I used to ride my bike to the library and check out biographies. I loved reading biographies,” he said. “That’s how I got suckered in. I just love helping people, and there’s no better way to do it than through a public library. There’re so many different ways you can help someone, and that gratification is really something that I look forward to every day.”
Howard hopes to maximize the time he will get to spend working with Needham in September, saying he is going to “try to soak up as much knowledge as humanly possible in those 30 days.”
“George’s background is so vast, and he has done so much for the public library world,” Howard said. “Any bit of knowledge that I can get from him will be beneficial to me. That month that I’m going to get with him, I can’t describe how big of a benefit that is going to be to get that opportunity.”
Howard went on to say, “I am most excited to be a part of that team … I know of the wonderful things happening in Delaware, and I just can’t wait to be a part of that and contribute to it. That’s what gets me excited. Everybody I’ve met or worked with from Delaware has been top-notch, professional, and wonderful people that work in the system. I can’t wait to come in and be a part of that system and continue to bring wonderful things to the community of Delaware.”