Growing up in Waupaca, Wis., Eric Bailey remembers the library in the small town of just over 6,000 residents commanded a presence.
When he began working at the Lake Bluff Library six years ago, Bailey found himself reliving that memory in a village not much bigger than his hometown.
“I fell in love with the community and the library,” Bailey said. “A small public library is such a unique experience. I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to take the next step in my career.”
Bailey did that officially Jan. 1 as the new director of the , succeeding Matt Womack,
During Womack’s brief 18-month tenure, the library and established record-setting circulation numbers with more than 8,600 for November 2011. Bailey had a chance to shadow Womack, working in acquisitions and technical services among a myriad of responsibilities that have led him to this point.
“In a small library, you wear several hats,” Bailey said. “I still have things to learn, but I think I’m in a good position to step into a new role here.”
Bailey’s familiarity was a strong selling point to the library board, which chose not to conduct a search and promote from within.
“We’ve had a great opportunity to observe Eric’s capabilities,” said Library Board president John Marozsan. “We felt Eric was very ready for this and Matt highly recommended him for the position. Eric is very customer friendly, and we think the public will recognize him as a good choice.”
In addition, the board has hired an interim coach, Arlene Kaspik, who will work with Bailey for at least this month as he becomes acclimated with the position’s interworkings. Kaspik served as interim director at Lake Bluff prior to Womack’s hire.
Prior to coming to Lake Bluff, the Libertyville resident worked as manager of Books a Million in Vernon Hills.
“That got me thinking, I had a love of the library all of my life and I knew it was a good career path to pursue,” Bailey said. “I’ve known for a while what I have wanted to do. It’s a dream job to be director of a small public library.”
Bailey looks forward to strengthening the library’s core offerings and continuing to pursue technology enhancements, such as the e-books and music downloads added within the last two years.
“The things we have always offered have never been more popular,” Bailey said. “Our laptop bar on the second floor is incredibly popular. There are some nice opportunities for us moving forward.”
Above all, Bailey wants the library to be that community hub.
“I see us continuing to get out in the community and partnering with a lot of different organizations,” he said. “We can be a strong partner.”
Library Board Vacancy
Interested candidates are asked to complete an application by Jan. 15 to fill a vacancy on the board. The appointment will run through the April 2013 election. For information, visit the Lake Bluff Library website.