News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 12, 2012

Vigo County Library board hires new director

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The Vigo County Public Library Board of Trustees on Monday selected Kristi Howe, a public library director in Beloit, Wis., to become the VCPL’s new director.

Howe, who begins her duties Feb. 1, will replace Nancy Dowell, who has been the library’s director for the past 13 years.

“I think we picked a great director,” said library board president Hank Metzger at a special meeting Monday night of the library’s board of trustees. The board voted unanimously to select Howe, who emerged from a search conducted by a Bradbury Associates/Gossage Sager Associates, a professional search firm hired by the library board in September.

Howe was the top choice from a field of about 25 applicants, Metzger said. The final three applicants were interviewed Nov. 30 by the full, seven-person library board.

Howe is presently director of the Beloit Public Library in Beloit, Wis., a city of about 37,000 people. She was hired into that position in August 2010. Before that, Howe was head of youth services at the Helen Plum Memorial Library in Lombard, Ill.

A native of Terre Haute who grew up in Casey, Ill., Howe has a bachelor’s degree from Eureka College, Eureka, Ill., and a masters in library and information science from Dominican University, River Forest, Ill.

“I am both excited and humbled by this appointment and I look forward to the opportunity to work with the staff and stakeholders of the Vigo County Public Library as we serve the residents and community partners of Vigo County,” Howe said in a news release provided by the library board Monday night.

After voting to hire Howe, the library board took a moment to express thanks to Dowell for her years of service to the library. Metzger said Dowell, who has worked at the VCPL for the past 28 years, helped lead the library into the technology-driven 21st century.

Dowell, who announced her resignation in August, was not present at the meeting, which was attended by more than a dozen library employees eager to learn the identity of the new director.

Dowell has stated she will remain at the library until a new director is ready to take over.

n Also Monday evening, the library board voted to approve a payment of $187,568 to 3M Library Systems of St. Paul, Minn., for new automated charging and returning equipment. The new equipment is part of an approximately $200,000 renovation of the library that will also provide new flooring, new security equipment and a paging system.

The library board’s next public meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday at the main branch downtown. The board is made up of seven volunteers. Three are appointed by the Vigo County School Board, two by the Vigo County Council and two by the Vigo County Commissioners.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@