George Needham will become the director of the Delaware County District Library, the board of trustees announced Monday.
“I am thrilled beyond measure,” Needham told The Gazette. “I’ve worked in libraries for a long time and this is a really great opportunity to do some new and innovative things at a library that’s had great leadership for a long time.”
Needham’s career includes serving as director for the Fairfield County District Library; more than 15 years as vice president at Online Computer Library Center; and as a consultant for the Delaware library.
“I was director of the library down in Lancaster back in the 1980s, and I left that job to go into library association work, but always in the back of my mind I wanted to get back to running a library,” Needham said. “I deeply love public libraries and central Ohio, so when I left OCLC, I had opportunities in other parts of the country, but I really wanted to stay in central Ohio.”
“The board is delighted that we were able to attract someone of the caliber as Mr. Needham,” said board president Neil Neidhardt, in a statement. “We know that the residents of Delaware County recognize and appreciate the value that the Delaware County District Library brings to our community, schools, and businesses. The board and I are confident that Mr. Needham will work well with the library staff to grow and continue to increase that value.”
While not promising radical change, Needham thinks there will be change nonetheless.
“We’re looking at a new age in public libraries, partially brought about by technology, partially by the great recession, and partially by a new awareness of what libraries can be in their communities,” Needham said. “I think we’re looking at being more of a community center, being more of a place where ideas can be exchanged and created, also perhaps a place where new things can be created. A number of libraries are moving into 3D printing and computer-generated lathes to help young people and people who aren’t so young learn about fabricating new ways of designing, and coming up with new and innovative ideas.”
Needham will replace Mary Jane Santos, who worked 31 years with the library, serving as director since 2006. She will retire Sept. 30, with an open house reception taking place at the main branch, 84 E. Winter St., from 3 to 7 p.m.
“Mary Jane has been a phenomenal leader and I’ve known her for 25 years or more,” Needham said. “She’s been a real leader, and I want to follow in those footsteps.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.