October 31, 2014

Dallas: As City Begins Search For Library Director, a Chat With Interim Who's Done More With Less

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From the Dallas Observer:

Corinne Hill has been the interim director of libraries for the city of Dallas since June of last year. That, she says, will change soon enough: Either she will be made the permanent director, or the city will install someone else in that position. City Manager Mary Suhm acknowledges as much: She tells Unfair Park today that the city hired a search firm last week to find someone to fill the position, with the intention of having that national look-see finished by the end of November.

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During her tenure, Hill has attempted to transition the DPL system into the digital age: Just last week she took part in a Library Journal chat about the “The Post Recession Library: Why Technology is No Longer a Luxury,” which also featured Syracue University professor R. David Lankes — the very same prof she tried to introduce to the city council, which ditched out on a Quality of Life Committee meeting to go meet the Dallas Mavericks upon their triumphant return from Miami earlier this summer.

Says Hill, maybe libraries don’t need to open early; maybe they don’t need to be fully staffed, so long as the information’s maintained and made available somehow.

“One of the things I think has been really interesting with this experience is that we’re forced to find different ways to provide services,” she says. “So, yeah, you can’t reach anyone till noon, but we’re online and moving toward ebooks and audio books and music you can download. You can still have access to some of our services, and we’re becoming more efficient and finding ways for technology to help us. I am of the school of: It’s a process, and processes open themselves up to automation, so it makes sense to take the human element out of it. We’re turning ourselves in a different direction.”

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.