Library Director, Faith Brautigam

Faith BrautigamThe Kokomo-Howard County Public Library has a new director.

 

At its September 17, 2012 meeting, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to hire Faith Brautigam as the new director beginning November 1, 2012.

 

Brautigam comes to Kokomo from Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, Ill., where she was Director of Early Literacy and Learning Initiatives and Director of Youth Services. Before serving Gail Borden Public Library for 21 years, Brautigam was the Head of Youth Services at the Sandusky Library in Sandusky, Ohio, from 1986 to 1990, and was a children’s librarian at Wayne County Public Library in Goldsboro, N.C., from 1984 to 1986. She received her Master of Science in Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Humanities at Houghton College in Houghton, N.Y.

 

“Faith, as a candidate, stood out because we were looking for an individual with public library experience, management experience, and budget experience,” said board member Mary Baker. “Faith’s enthusiasm is something that, I believe, impressed all of us. Most importantly, her ideas for moving our library into the 21st century were in line with what we, as a board, were looking for in a new director.”

 

“We were looking for a director who was looking at technology and how it would impact the library in the future,” Baker said. “Technology is changing the world, including libraries and books. It’s a big challenge for libraries to address now and it’s going to be an even bigger one in the future. One of the things that stood out when she talked with us was the idea of bringing patrons into the library for activities and programs that aren’t necessarily book-specific. In addition, we still have patrons who don’t use technology. They’ll never own a computer or a smart phone. We can’t leave out people in that demographic.”

 

“For the future, I think that we need to focus on why libraries have always existed and not on what we have done or are doing,” Brautigam said. “We have existed and will continue to exist to enrich the lives of the community. We will have to be creative and innovative in how we accomplish that in the future.”

 

“Progressive is the word I think of when I think of Faith,” Baker said. “Progressive is also the word I think of when I think of the library she comes from, and I think it will be great for us to tap into that.”

Baker pointed to one project at the Gail Borden Public Library as an example: “GIANTS: African Dinosaurs.”

 

Brautigam was on the School Visit Committee for the exhibit of six full-sized dinosaur skeletons on display at the library. The exhibit attracted 14,000 students through field trips, and the library planned 65 exhibit-related programs to coincide with the four-month exhibit. GIANTS: African Dinosaurs was one of the reasons the North Suburban Library System voted Gail Borden Public Library 2006 Library of the Year. NSLS is a consortium of more than 650 academic, public, school, and special libraries in Cook, Kane, Lake, and McHenry counties.

 

Director Charles Joray retired on April 30, 2012 and Peg Harmon has been serving as the Interim Director during the board’s search for a new director.

 

“It’s important to note that, as a board, we took our time with selecting a new director,” Baker said. “We advertised to attract people from all over the country. We wanted to get the very best candidates. The entire board did the search, and a subcommittee did initial interviews, narrowing the field to 10. It was time-intensive because we wanted to
make sure that we selected the right person for this job to lead the library. We had a pool of really strong candidates. It was a difficult decision. But we, as a board, believe that Faith is the person to lead the library into the future.”

 

“I am very excited about working with the board,” Brautigam said. “They are proud of their community. They are extremely invested in the library and the future. In terms of the Kokomo area, from the research I’ve done, the community has a variety of things to offer. The free trolley sounds like a great concept, as well as the foreign exchange student program that the Kokomo-Center School Corporation has going on. I am excited about getting to know the community and the people. It appears there is a lot of potential for community partnering.”

 

She’s lived in New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Illinois; however, she’ll fit right in here in the Hoosier state.

 

“I got to see Michael Jordan play while he was in college in North Carolina,” Brautigam said. “I’m a basketball fan, although I venture to guess I won’t be rooting for the right teams.” She laughed. “I do like that there’s a former North Carolina player, Tyler Hansbrough, playing for the Pacers.”