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Posted: 12/11/13

Interim director hopes to
keep libraries successful

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Linda Sickles likens libraries as the "living room of the community," and hopes to maintain that openness as interim library director.
       "Everybody can come in and exchange ideas and information and there is no entrance fee, there is no censorship," she said.
       Sickles, a Rochester Hills resident, began as the Romeo District Library's interim director on Dec. 2, working no more than 20 hours a week for $45 an hour.
       She said taking the interim position gave her a chance to use her experience and skills as a director, and hopes she can help the library succeed and grow.
       "If I can lend some support during this transition time it's a good fit," she said.
       Sickles retired in 2012 from the library director position in Orion Township Public Library, a career she began in 1980. She has been in the library field for 42 years, working in districts located in Birmingham and Rochester.
       "Our generation has had a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of desire to enhance libraries in the community and make sure that they are an integral part of their communities," she said.
       Sickles earned a bachelor's degree in political science and secondary education from Eastern Michigan University and a master's degree in library science from Western Michigan University.
       She said her experience in Orion Township will help because the two communities not only have a similar population, but a similar mindset about its libraries.
       "From everything I've heard and observed so far the (Romeo District Library) is a very valued part of the community," she said. "I think it's essential to the quality of life in this district, and there is a strong service element this library has for its public."
       She said one of her first goals is to file the state aid report due in January, but she will also help the library board in choosing a permanent director. A timeline hasn't been established for hiring a director, but Sickle said candidates should have a strong library background and leadership skills.
       "They should definitely have a strong public service orientation and a good sense of how to communicate our services to the community," she said.
       She will also assist in developing the library's strategic plan through input from library staff and board as well as from the public.
       "We are all defining what is truly essential to our operations," she said. "I probably will have to take a step back and look in-depth at what has been done and see where we can go."
       She said part of the plan will be examining the budget. She said libraries have faced budget cuts over the years due to falling property values, but the Romeo district has kept up services while not reducing hours.
       "I'm looking forward to working with the board and staff," she said.


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