116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The two final candidates for the next Marion Public Library director had the chance to meet the public virtually Monday night.
The library board held a public forum on Zoom, splitting the time between each candidate and giving them the chance to present why they are best to be the library’s next director.
Dan Brower and William Carroll fielded questions from the board and residents attending the public meeting. Each candidate said collaboration is key.
“It’s very collaborative,” Brower said of his leadership style. “I know I have many ideas and not all those ideas are great, and there will be people in the room who will have better ideas. I want those people in the room to get the best ideas.”
“It’s collaborative,” Carroll said of his leadership style, as well. “I want to help anyone to brainstorm, problem-solve and come up with solutions to potential problems. I want someone to come to me with an idea that’s so bizarre, talk about it, see if there’s a budget there and do it.”
Brower, assistant director and head of public service at the Cass County Public Library in Harrisonville, Mo., said he is a decision-maker in his current role.
“I can be the catalyst to get things going,” he said. “I want to be the library’s point of contact for everyone. I’m going to be passionate about Marion Public Library.”
Carroll, director of branch operations at North Central Washington Libraries in Wenatchee, Wash., said his distinct experiences over the years are what make him a good fit for the role in Marion.
“All those pieces come together to be leader that has the experience to lead the library into the future,” Carroll said.
Whoever becomes the library’s next director will inherit a new $18 million building, which is expected to open in March 2022.
The old library, at 11th Street and Sixth Avenue, closed for good after the Aug. 10 derecho damaged the building and 20 percent of the library’s collection.
A small Uptown Library branch is open at 1064 Seventh Ave. for browsing and book pickup, with a temporary technology station set up at the Marion Columbus Club, 5650 Kacena Ave.
Carroll said he is looking to finish his career back in Iowa. He worked for the Carnegie-Stout Library in Dubuque before moving to Washington.
“I want to remain the director until I retire,” he said. “Those are my long-term plans. I would love to come back to the Midwest and finish out my career in a town like Marion.”
Brower said Marion seems like the perfect-sized town for him and said he’s ready to be in town for as long as he can.
“I don’t see this as a steppingstone, but I don’t know how long I want to stay there,” he said.
The next director will become the fourth director in the last five years as the library struggled with changing plans to expand and meet the demand of a growing Marion.
Last November, director Hollie Trenary was fired without public explanation.
In 2016, former director Doug Raber retired after five years.
In 2017, Elsworth Carman was hired as director but took a job as the city’s director of administrative services before leaving to be Iowa City’s library director in 2018.
Trenary, who began that same year, previously was operations manager for the Cedar Rapids Public Library and oversaw the design for the 50,000-square-foot library to be built in the 1100 block of Sixth Avenue in Marion.
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