Archive for Wednesday, August 13, 2003

New librarian to begin work in six weeks

August 13, 2003

For Sharon Moreland, a library is much like a second home.

"My mom is a librarian," the 30-year-old said. "She's a professor emeritus at Kansas State University. I grew up in libraries."

And now, Moreland is turning her attention to the Tonganoxie Public Library, where she was hired last week as its director. Moreland will begin work on Sept. 22.

The local library has been without a director since April, when Beckie Borella resigned in the wake of allegations that she used the library's credit card and wrote checks to make personal purchases totaling more than $17,000.

Currently, Moreland is assistant to the director of the Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library. Last year, she earned a master's degree in library science, and she's been eager to land a job as a library director.

Tonganoxie, she said, seems like the perfect place to start.

"I wanted to be a director," Moreland said during an interview Saturday at the Tonganoxie library, where she plans to spend a several days getting acquainted before she officially starts work. "It fills my personality to lead and have my fingers in everything. I don't want to do just one thing. I like the variety of it. I think I'm going to love coming to work every day."

Moreland, who grew up in Manhattan and holds a degree in English from Kansas State University, was chosen from a field of more than 20 applicants. The library board's search committee interviewed four finalists and last Wednesday chose Moreland.

Jim Morey, president of the board who also served on the search committee, is pleased.

"She's worked with budgets and worked with the fiduciary aspects of libraries, and she's worked with boards," he said.

Moreland will be paid $32,000 as a starting wage, Morey said. She will receive raises every six months, until her salary reaches $34,000 in two years.

Once she comes on board, Moreland said, she hopes to take the temperature of the reading public and then increase circulation.

"If we have a lot of books people don't want, then we've done a poor job of building the collections," she said.

She wants to beef up children's programs, increase the use of the library by community members and revamp the library's Web site.

It's important, she said, that the school librarians and she work together.

"I differ from a lot of people in our field and believe we are part of the educational system," Moreland said. "The town is small enough that there is no turf, and where you have limited money, you have to cooperate and share the costs."

And while Moreland never has been a library director before, she said she has a long list of people she can ask for advice.

"And I'm not afraid to ask," she said.

Moreland's interests run beyond the walls of libraries. She is a potter and takes classes at the Kansas City Clay Guild, and she enjoys listening to live music. She shoots targets. But she's not a hunter.

"I much prefer tin cans to something that is breathing," she said. "I'm an animal lover."

Although Moreland currently lives in Kansas City, Mo., she plans to pack up Sophie and Andy, her two cats, and Doc, her dog, and eventually move to Tonganoxie.

"I think it's important for me to join the community and live here," she said.

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