CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County said goodbye to its Library Executive Director Heidi Daniel on Wednesday with a farewell party. She’ll head to Baltimore next week for her new position as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Public Library.
Daniel — who was with the Houston Public Library before coming to the Valley — has managed 15 branches for the Mahoning County area over the past five years.
She said this is where she shined, admitting — despite taking her dream job — moving on won’t be easy.
“I’m grateful for the last five years, so I’m feeling a lot of gratitude.”
There was high praise and even a few tears from co-workers Wednesday.
Their respect shows why Daniel will be trusted to manage 22 branches, 500 employees, and a $40 million budget in Baltimore.
“She’s been the voice of the library,” said Susan Marriman, who will serve as the interim director. “She’s adopted the community and made it a part of her life.”
“She wouldn’t do anything unless she could do the best job she could,” Dr. Ritchie said.
“She has done wonderful things for the library system and I’m really going to miss her,” Linda Kucalaba said.
Daniel said libraries are constantly needing to change their image. No longer is it just a place to borrow books.
They’ve had to go digital, offering things like e-books, music, comic books, audio books on smart phones, and even 3D printing.
“There’s really so much they can do to enrich their lives,” Daniel said.
Pew Research released a study last month that said more than half of the people between the ages of 18 and 35 say they’ve used a public library in the last year. That’s nearly 10 percent more than those surveyed from Generation X and Baby Boomers.
“We have reached those millennials through adding new technology, more services, more programming,” Daniel said. “We’ve situated ourselves as a place to learn, a place to work, a place to be creative.”
Hear about Interim Director Susan Merriman’s plans for the coming months as she and the board search for a new executive director, on First News This Morning, starting at 5 a.m.