News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 21, 2012

Dowell stepping down at Vigo County Public Library

Board begins process of searching for new director

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Nancy Dowell, director of the Vigo County Public Library, is retiring after 13 years on the job.

The library’s seven-person board Monday night expressed regret about Dowell’s pending departure, which may not take place until early next year due to the length of time needed to find a new director.

The board formed a search committee to begin the process of finding someone to replace Dowell, who has steered the library into a new era of technology, including automated checkout equipment to be installed later this year.

“It’s one of those bittersweet moments,” Dowell said of the decision to retire. “I’ve loved every minute.”

The library board, which is made up of people appointed by the Vigo County school board, the county council and the county commissioners, is expected to hire a search firm at a special budget meeting planned for Sept. 4 at 5:30 p.m. at the library.

Dowell said her next career step is to take part in a small business that is expanding downtown.

The library director’s position salary was $87,333 in 2011.

• Also Monday, the library board learned that the Friends of the Vigo County Public Library has donated more than $3,000 to purchase books to help “struggling and reluctant” readers in grades K-5.

“We’re very excited about these new books,” said Susan Jakaitis, manager of the LifeLong Learning Center at the library. The books will be used by the Sycamore Readers, students from Indiana State University, to coach children on their reading skills, Jakaitis said.

About 75 children are involved in the reading program during each school term, Jakaitis said.

• Finally, the library board learned that, despite this summer’s intense heat, electricity costs are down significantly at the VCPL this year. Electricity costs in July totaled about $7,000, compared with more than $10,000 for July of 2011. Dowell and board members attribute the savings to weatherizing upgrades undertaken at the library last year.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or