A new director, a new decade for Farmington Community Library

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published December 17, 2019

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FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — The Farmington Community Library has appointed a new director.

Riti Grover will take over for Jaclyn Miller, who has been serving as interim director since the resignation of former Director Elyse Streit in May. Miller will return to her position as the head of the Main Library branch.

Grover is expected to begin in her new role Jan. 2.

She currently serves as the director at the Kanawha County Public Library in West Virginia. She has also served as the director of the Ramsey Free Library and the Norwood Public Library, both in the Bergen County Cooperative Library System in New Jersey.

She worked her way up the library ladder from page to director at the Norwood Public Library after earning a master’s degree in library science from Wayne State University.

Grover applied for the position after determining that her experience and expertise were a match for what the Farmington Community Library board was looking for. She said she is excited to join the library’s team and return to an area she enjoys.

“I know the love for the library in that area, and the library services and support from the community are enormous,” she said. “It’s truly an honor to be serving people who value those services so much. With Farmington Community Library’s fabulous team, we are planning to take the library services to the next level.”

Farmington Community Library board President Jim White said the board received “strong interest in the position from three candidates who brought unique strengths.” However, Grover’s breadth of experience moved her to the top of the list.

“Knowing that she wasn’t just born a library administrator — that she’s actually worked through all the various jobs you can have in the library and has worked with the public in a variety of roles. It’s just going to allow her to get to know our staff more quickly and understand the various challenges (they) might be facing,” he said. “The more angles you can view something from, the better off you are. That will help our community.”

Grover agreed that her experience working through multiple library positions has always helped her.

“It really helps to know what it takes to provide the services that are required at every level of the organization. It also helps (me) get a better perspective from the employees’ side,” she said. “By knowing the exact demands and needs of the community, I’m able to optimize the resources, be it financial, material or human resources, to serve the community in the best way possible.”

White said that, while the library has been well maintained since Streit’s resignation with Miller as the interim, the process of finding a permanent replacement has been a long one. The library board hired a search consultant to draw in candidates from around the country.

He believes the appointment of a new director will allow the library to progress again.

“I don’t want to sound critical of anyone, but when you have an interim (director), you’re kind of in a holding pattern and you’re waiting to see what’s going to happen next,” he said. “Now, we have a director, and as soon as she arrives, gets to know people and gets a feel for the lay of the land, then we’ll be moving forward again.

“The board is very appreciative of (Miller) for taking on this extra challenge, and I’m sure (Miller) will be more relieved than anybody to have a director back in place,” White added.

As the Farmington Community Library continues into the next decade, the Board of Trustees and Grover will be focusing on the future challenges and opportunities the library may face and what role libraries should play within a community.

“I think the board, myself and even the staff are on the same page. We look forward to having a lot of community partners and collaborations to bring new awareness to the role of the library in the community and, together, be able to create enhanced services for everybody,” Grover said.

White said the library board also is working on putting together a new strategic plan for the coming years, which will include forecasting challenges and opportunities, as well as a look at general maintenance repairs to both library branch facilities in order to “keep the buildings going for as long as we can.”

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