Baldwin Public Library names new director

Former associate director will oversee the final phase of historic renovations

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published December 7, 2020

 Rebekah Craft, the current associate director of the Baldwin Public Library, will succeed Director Doug Koschik in January, who recently announced his retirement.

Rebekah Craft, the current associate director of the Baldwin Public Library, will succeed Director Doug Koschik in January, who recently announced his retirement.

Photo provided by Rebekah Craft

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BIRMINGHAM — This new year, a new leader will step up at the Baldwin Public Library as Director Doug Koschik announces his retirement.

At its Oct. 27 meeting, the BPL board of voted to approve current Associate Director Rebekah Craft to take over Jan. 16. Craft was selected as one of two finalists from a pool of 10 applications for the position from candidates across the country.

“In talking with Craft’s references and Baldwin Library department heads, and reading surveys from library staff, it was an amazing experience,” library Board President Melissa Mark said in a press release. “Across the board, people praised Rebekah’s leadership, communication skills, calm manner, professional reputation, collaborative nature, thoughtful listening skills and empathy. Rebekah is thoughtful, a great leader in a crisis, an excellent problem solver and a good manager.”

Craft has worked at the Baldwin Public Library as the associate director since 2015. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business communications from Calvin University and a master’s degree in library and information science from Wayne State University. She has previously worked as an outreach and bookmobile services librarian and as the adult services manager at the Rochester Hills Public Library.

Craft has spent the past five years immersed in the overhaul of the historic building, starting with a $2.2 million renovation of the adult services area and then the $2.7 million expansion and renovation of the youth room and grand hall.

Next up is the third and final phase of the plan, a renovation of the front entrance to add a street level and handicap-accessible entrance, better lighting, study spaces and a cafe. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.

That might seem like a long time out, but Craft won’t be getting a break anytime soon. She’s set to appear at the city’s long-range planning meeting Jan. 23 to present a preliminary version of the phase three plan.

“In the shorter term, we will be doing some cosmetic improvements to the building, including recarpeting the second floor and repainting the grand hall,” she said in an email. “We received a generous donation for these projects and hope to complete these projects in 2021 with as little disruption as possible to the public.”

And then there’s that little task of, you know, delivering books and other media to patrons safely during a dangerous pandemic. That’s her immediate priority, she said.

“While we are closed to the public, BPL staff are busy working behind the scenes pulling items for curbside pickup requests,” Craft explained, saying the library has more than 100 item pickups per day. “(We’re) creating virtual story times, running online book discussions, preparing takeaway craft kits for all ages and using the Idea Lab for 3D printing and laser engraving projects.”

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