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For Immediate Release
April 10, 2013

 

Sara Jones Named Director of Marin County Free Library
Successor to retired Gail Haar is a nationally known innovator, skilled fundraiser

 

San Rafael, CA -- The former director of the state library in Nevada and current director of the Carson City, Nevada, library system has been selected as director of the Marin County Free Library.

Sara Jones, a librarian since 1988, will be appointed by the Marin County Board of Supervisors on April 16, and her starting date will be July 8, said County Administrator Matthew Hymel. Jones replaces Gail Haar, who retired March 29 after leading the library since 2007. Jones’ starting salary will be $150,134, the top of the salary range, based on her experience and track record.

An Idaho native and 25-year Nevada resident, Jones is highly respected in her profession for her innovative ideas, fundraising skills, collaboration with community groups and ability to inspire staff. She was the state of Nevada’s co-Librarian of the Year for 2012.

“I am thrilled with the opportunity to lead the library system and provide the residents of Marin County exceptional resources and service,” Jones said. “Public libraries are more important than ever in our lives. They give a safe and trusted place for learning, provide recreation and, perhaps most importantly, connect people and ideas.” 

The Carson City Library has a staff of 55 full-time and contract workers and an annual operating budget of about $2 million. The Marin County Free Library has about 200 employees (roughly 60 percent full-time) in 10 branches and a budget of about $16 million. It is under policy direction of the Marin County Board of Supervisors and advised by the Marin County Library Commission.

When Jones took over the Carson City library system from a 30-year administrator in 2007, the system had just 10 public-access computers and was considered one of the weakest in the state when measuring technological tools, she said. Gradually, Jones emphasized computer access for the public, created a media lab, opened a business branch library, opened a branch at a Boys and Girls Club and expanded the e-book collection. Today, Carson City library customers have access to 118 computers.

Tammy Westergard, Deputy Director of the Carson City Library, said Jones’ ability to foster public-private partnerships and secure grants was critical to the library system’s upgrades. She said the respect Jones earned from library staff was key to the transformation.

“Marin is inheriting a great leader,” Westergard said. “Sara understands why public libraries matter. She is very authentic, a consummate professional and extraordinary on so many levels. She gave our staff ownership by incorporating a team approach that was well-received and won over the rank-and-file. I think she was successful because she celebrated the small successes along with the big ones.”

Hymel said that the Board of Supervisors was looking for a candidate with a proven track record of engaging both staff and the community about the importance of library services and how libraries contribute to the quality of life of our residents.  

“Sara Jones will be a great fit for the Marin County Free Library,” said Judy Arnold, President of the Marin County Board of Supervisors. “Her record of innovation, collaboration and inspiration will serve our communities well. We are glad to have someone with the depth of experience and demonstrated ability to find ways to enhance library services in the community. Our Board welcomes her.”

Jones earned an undergraduate degree from Boise State University in interpersonal communications and a master’s degree from Syracuse University in library and information science. She anticipates completion of her Ph.D. in library science later this year from the University of North Texas.

Jones started her library career as a youth services librarian in Elko, Nev., and served more than six years as the library’s director. In addition to her duties as a librarian, Jones has been an adjunct professor of library science at North Texas and at San Jose State University. She has helped raise more than $15 million as a grant writer and served on the boards of several library associations.

Jones said she is particularly impressed with the Marin County Free Library system’s breadth and diversity. “I look forward to learning about the aspirations of the communities, the library employees and Marin County leadership for the future of the system,” she said.

Jones, who has family in Sonoma and Yolo counties, has been married 29 years to a certified public accountant and has a 19-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter. Jones describes herself as an avid fan of the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers and enjoys outdoor recreation with her family.

“I can't believe how lucky I am to be moving to such a beautiful, diverse and community-centered county,” she said.

 

Need more information?  Please Contact:
 

Eric Engelbart

Management & Budget Analyst

Marin County Administrator’s Office

3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 325

San Rafael, CA 94903

415 473-6364 T

eengelbart@marincounty.org

www.marincounty.org/cao

 

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