New library director to take post

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published September 23, 2015


HARPER WOODS — After a search for a new leader, the Harper Woods Library Board selected Kristen Valyi-Hax to serve as the library’s new director.

The City Council voted unanimously in favor of the appointment during its Sept. 9 meeting.

Valyi-Hax has years of experience, the most recent being work as a reference librarian in Roseville’s public library as well as experience as a library director. She will replace former Harper Woods Library Director Mary Howard, who resigned from her post earlier this year.

“It is my opinion that she’ll be a valuable asset to this community,” City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk said.

Library Board President Mary Kingston said Valyi-Hax’s first day at the Harper Woods Public Library will be Sept. 29.

“Ms. Valyi-Hax has over 18 years of library experience in many capacities, including director of the Romeo District Library,” Kingston said in an email.

According to the employment agreement, Valyi-Hax will start at $55,000 with an increase to $60,000 after the first year, upon approval of the Library Board.

Valyi-Hax spoke during the Sept. 9 meeting about her new position.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to serve the residents of Harper Woods,” she said. “I have over 18 years of experience serving public libraries and look forward to bringing my experience to this truly wonderful library, and I’m happy to get started.”

Valyi-Hax mentioned a number of her posts over her 18 years in library service, which included working for the Suburban Library Cooperative, of which Harper Woods is a member.

“Thanks to my work at the Suburban Library Cooperative, I’ve known the folks at the Harper Woods (Public Library) for years,” she said in an email. “I remember how impressed I was after the 2005 renovation. The building was beautiful, and the LEED Green Building Award, the first awarded to a Michigan library, was something to be proud of.

“Therefore, I was very excited when this opportunity became available,” she said. “The staff is friendly and professional, and I know how hard they work to make the library great. The community also supports the library. People I know who have lived there all say the same thing: ‘That library is a gem.’ When the Library Board offered me the position, I was happy because I felt like we had the same vision for library service in a city the size of Harper Woods. I’m looking forward to working with this board and all of the friendly people in the city offices.”

When she begins her post, she will have some initial priorities in mind: “Getting to know the community, talking with the library staff, and working with the board to set some short-term and long-term goals for the library,” she said.

“Once I have a handle on those items, the staff and I can start to make plans for programs and services to offer our citizens,” she said. “I also want to talk with the library’s treasurer and the city manager to make sure that the library’s funding is on track so that we serve the community in a fiscally responsible manner.

“The Harper Woods Public Library has offered over 50 years of service to its residents, and I am looking forward to continuing that tradition.”