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 under way. The Library board of trustees will choose among three finalists on Wednesday. The public can ask the candidates questions at an event on Saturday.
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.
The three finalists for the job are:
• Anita G. Carroll, director of the MidPointe Library System, headquartered in Middletown, Ohio, 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.
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. Partovi said she does not want to wait until the levy expires to retire.
Among the directions library trustees 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; 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 that 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 of them has since accepted another position.
The library director’s salary range is $104,670 to $141,608. Library trustees will determine how much the new director should earn based on his or her experience.