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February 21, 2018

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Library News Release

Release Date: 05/10/2011

Director of Jefferson County Public Library in Colorado selected to lead The Seattle Public Library

Photo of Marcellus Turner

Marcellus Turner, currently executive director of Jefferson County Public Library in Lakewood, Colo., has been selected to lead The Seattle Public Library. Seattle's five-member Library Board made its decision today after a nationwide search. Other finalists included Charles M. Brown, director of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, N.C. and Nancy Ledeboer, director of Pima County Public Library, Tucson, Ariz.


Turner will fill the vacancy left by former City Librarian Susan Hildreth, who was appointed to head the Institute for Museum and Library Services in Washington, D.C.  Lin Schnell, the Library's human resources director, has been serving as interim chief executive officer since January.


"Seattle has one of the top public library systems in the nation," Turner said. "I'm excited to lead a system with an ambitious new Strategic Plan that will continue to ensure excellence, creativity and extraordinary service to the people of Seattle."


Turner is looking forward to moving back to the Pacific Northwest, having worked at the Tacoma Public Library earlier in his career. He expects to begin his new position in mid-August.


Library Board President Marie McCaffrey said Turner impressed the board with his leadership skills and energy for leading the Library into a bold new chapter. "Our Strategic Plan - our blueprint for serving the next generation of users - encourages and inspires the Library to pursue new and innovative services, strategic partnerships and to promote reading in new ways," McCaffrey said. She noted that Turner brings a wealth of perspectives and ideas from the library profession. Turner is active in the American Library Association, Library Administration and Management Association and the Public Library Association.


McCaffrey added that Turner has also faced significant budget challenges in his current position. "We were impressed with how he handled those difficult decisions with staff and the community," she said.


Turner has more than 20 years of experience in library service and management. At Jefferson County Public Library, he oversees a $27 million budget and a staff of 250. The system includes 10 libraries, a bookmobile, eTrain mobile computer training lab and a Traveling Children's Library.  It serves a population of 548,557 people.


Prior to joining Jefferson County Public Library in 2002, Turner was assistant executive director of the Rockford Public Library in Rockford, Ill. He also served as a departmental supervisor at both Tacoma Public Library in Tacoma, Wash., and Atlantic City Free Public Library in Atlantic City, N.J. In addition, he held several positions with academic libraries in Tennessee and Louisiana. He holds a master's degree in library science from the University of Tennessee.


As city librarian of The Seattle Public Library, Turner will oversee a $50 million budget, 640 employees and facilities that include the world famous Central Library and 26 new or renovated branches. The city librarian reports to the five-member independent Library Board, who are citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council.


"I look forward to working with the board, staff, Library Foundation, Friends and city leaders in continuing and enhancing the tremendous investment that the people of Seattle have made in their library system," Turner said. "Seattle residents support their libraries and use them heavily."


"When told of the decision, former City Librarian Hildreth commented, "I know Marcellus as a colleague and he is well-respected and admired in the Library profession. Seattle is lucky to get him!"

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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