NORFOLK County Public Library’s Board of Directors announced Julie Kent as the library’s new Chief Executive Officer.
Ms Kent was selected from a pool of qualified applicants from across Canada to succeed former CEO Heather King, who retired in December. The board began searching for a new CEO in October 2021 and finalized Ms Kent’s contract last month.
The new Library CEO joins the NCPL after being Library Services Manager at the Weston Family Library at the Toronto Botanical Garden. She also worked for the Huntsville Public Library and King’s University College in past years. She has a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) and also earned a Bachelor of Arts, Honours English, Women’s Studies Option.
Ms Kent joins a library system that has faced significant challenges over the past three years.
In 2019, provincial funding cuts to interlibrary loan services led to the NCPL initiating a regional loan courier program with neighbouring communities.
In January of 2020, Norfolk County Council mandated the NCPL to reduce its budget by 10% ($282,460), and then in March COVID-19 lockdowns forced its branches to adapt operations in order to continue serving the public.
Library staff responded to the challenge and the NCPL was one of the few municipal library systems in Ontario to offer continuous service throughout the entire pandemic.
In 2021, the library board and council reached a compromise on the budget reduction, settling on a 7.5% cut ($216,345) that led to the closure of a satellite branch at Norview Lodge, the elimination of four positions, cuts to all operating expense lines, and the initiating of substantial fundraising efforts.
NCPL Board Chair Adam Veri says the library board is looking forward to the library returning to a more solid footing in 2022.
“The board is happy to welcome Julie Kent to the Norfolk County Public Library,” Mr Veri said. “We are confident she will provide some much-needed stability to the library corporation, and that her vision will build on the positive momentum the organization has set in motion over the last year.”
“I am thrilled to be here at Norfolk County Public Library and am excited to join the team in serving the entire county,” said CEO Kent.
“I am committed to guiding the library to anticipate and respond to the changing needs of the community by developing and providing resources, programs, services, and spaces that help advance opportunity, growth, and discovery,” said Ms Kent.
“My top priorities for the library include engaging with the community, enhancing user experience, and focusing on essential programs and services,” she added.
The Norfolk County Public Library has branches in Simcoe, Port Dover, Waterford, Delhi, and Port Rowan. For operating hours and more information on the programs and services offered visit ncpl.ca
Originally published February 16, 2022