The Spokane Public Library will get new leadership just as its funding stabilizes after years of uncertainty.
Pat Partovi, who has led the library since 2003, will retire May 10.
“It’s a perfect opportunity for a new director,” Partovi said.
The process to pick Partovi’s successor is well underway. The Library Board of Trustees will choose among three finalists on Wednesday. The public can ask the candidates questions at an event on Saturday.
Keep reading for the names of the three finalists.
Last month, voters agreed to raise taxes to provide the library an extra $1 million annually for four years. Officials said the tax will prevent branch closures and allow the library system to keep all six locations open full-time for the first time in nearly a decade.
Partovi, 63, said she believes the library needs a director committed to staying for the next four years as library trustees debate a long-term plan to stabilize the library’s funding. The levy approved by voters expires in four years. Partovi said she does not want to wait that long to retire.
Among the directions the library likely will consider before the levy expires: asking voters to approve a new levy; merging with the Spokane County Library District; removing the library from city government and creating a separate library taxing district that has city borders; and stipulating that the library receive a guaranteed percentage of city revenue much like the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department.
Monica Fox, the library’s human resources manager, said 13 applied for the director’s position. The board required that candidates have a master’s degree in library science and at least five years of experience as a library manager.
Library trustees Janice Marich and Jim Kershner and retired Spokane County Library District Director Mike Wirt narrowed the list to six. They were interviewed via Skype or the phone.
Marich said despite a relatively small number of applications, the board has a qualified pool of candidates with different strengths.
“We were pleased that we had the caliber and depth of candidates we did,” Marich said.
Four were chosen by the selection committee as finalists and one those has since accepted another position.
The three remaining finalists are:
Anita G. Carroll, director of the MidPointe Library System, headquartered in Middletown, Ohio, which is north of Cincinnati.
Andrew Chanse, innovations and strategies administrator of the Maricopa County Library District, which serves suburban and rural areas around Phoenix.
Greta Chapman, director of the Rapid City Public Libraries in South Dakota.
The library director’s salary range is $104,670 and $141,608. Library trustees will determine how much the new director should earn based on his or her experience.
The public can meet and question the candidates at 10 a.m. at the Shadle branch, W. 2111 Wellesley Ave.