From the left, Legislator of the Year Sen. Paul Wojno, D-Warren; Rising Star Danielle DiAmico; Heart of a Champion Donna Adams; and Librarian of the Year Cathleen Russ are honored at the Michigan Library Association 2019 Awards Oct. 17 in Novi.

From the left, Legislator of the Year Sen. Paul Wojno, D-Warren; Rising Star Danielle DiAmico; Heart of a Champion Donna Adams; and Librarian of the Year Cathleen Russ are honored at the Michigan Library Association 2019 Awards Oct. 17 in Novi.

File photo provided by the Michigan Library Association


Search underway for next Troy library director

By: Andy Kozlowski | C&G Newspapers | Published December 8, 2020

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TROY — After more than 13 years as the director of the Troy Public Library, Cathy Russ has left to take up the same position at the library in West Bloomfield Township.

“I have a 41-year history with the Troy Public Library, beginning when my family moved to Troy in 1979. I thought it was the best library I’d ever seen, and I still think that,” Russ said in an email prior to leaving late last month. “It has been an honor to be the director of the TPL, and I will miss everyone very much.”

Now the city of Troy is searching for the next person to fill the role. The position was posted on the city’s website Nov. 17, and at press time the city was planning to begin reviewing applications Dec. 7. Current employees may apply, in addition to newcomers. The position has been posted to websites such as tln.lib.mi.us, libcoop.net, indeed.com and ziprecruiter.com.

“If things go well, we could conduct remote interviews as soon as the week of Dec. 14,” Robert Bruner, Troy’s assistant city manager, said in an email. “However, it is difficult to predict how long a hiring process will take.”

The advertised starting salary is $98,000-$110,000, depending on qualifications. The full-time position also carries medical, dental and vision insurance, effective the date of hire, as well as paid vacation, personal and sick leave, and a retirement plan that includes a 401a and a retiree health savings plan with employer contribution. Candidates may apply online at troymi.gov/jobopenings.

“The library director devotes considerable time to implementing excellent programs, services and collections within the established budget. This also includes hiring excellent staff who will deliver those services,” reads the job description. “The library director represents TPL to the community and actively promotes connections, partnerships and goodwill,” interacting with residents, business owners and staff, volunteers, the Friends of the Troy Public Library, endowment fund donors, vendors, community groups and more.

The search for a new library director comes at a unique time for the Troy Public Library, located at 510 W. Big Beaver Road, and for libraries in general, since the pandemic has changed the way they deliver services.

The building remains closed to the public, but staff is accessible by phone and email, and patrons can access digital materials online as well as physical materials via curbside pickup. The library continues to hold programs as well, but they are now held online through Zoom.

When society gets back to normal, the library plans to expand from its current reduced schedule of five days a week  — Mondays-Thursdays, plus Saturdays — to a seven-day service, thanks to voter approval Nov. 3 for the renewal of a 10-year dedicated library millage — a measure that will also will increase the millage to 1.1 mills.

The new millage goes into effect July 1, the start of the new fiscal year. The original millage had been 0.7 mill, and subsequently was reduced to 0.6805 mill due to Michigan’s Headlee Amendment rollbacks. Prior to the vote, officials had said the library was anticipating a $400,000 shortfall that could reduce its rainy-day fund to below $28,000.

Bruner said that the library has had a budget surplus each year for the five years of the first 0.7-mill library millage, approved in 2011, swelling the library’s fund balance to $1.5 million. Then, when the City Council put a second five-year 0.7-mill library millage on the ballot in 2015, they knew it would not cover the full cost of the library. The plan then was to spend the library fund balance during the following five years. The current budget for fiscal year 2020-21 also includes reducing the library fund balance to less than $28,000.

Now, with the third millage approved, a Troy taxpayer with an average residential taxable value of $130,000 will pay $143 next summer to support library services, which equates to less than $12 per month. Residents can consult the Library Millage Estimator online at http://apps.troymi.gov/LibraryMillageEstimator for a more accurate estimate.

The millage is projected to raise about $5.79 million in its first year. The funds can only go toward improvements, maintenance or operations. The library needs to replace its windows and repair its elevator — both date back to 1984 — as well as its heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The library also wants to incorporate upgrades such as study rooms, a dedicated teen area and a highly-requested makerspace.

“There’s no question that the Troy library will always have a special place in my heart. It’s less about leaving Troy, and more about coming to West Bloomfield. I just think West Bloomfield has such a dynamic energy to it; I’ve always admired them and followed them over the years. The West Bloomfield staff never rest on their laurels — they’re always about continuous improvement, and that’s how I like to live my life too. I wanted to be part of that energy and dynamism. The Troy library is on the cusp of a very exciting change as well — they just passed a new millage, so they will be able to stay open more, and to do renovations. And so I saw this as an opportunity, since I had helped the Troy library get through some of their toughest times, and now I feel it’s time to turn the reins over to someone new who can manage those changes in the future, while I go and have new challenges for myself.”

Bruner said that the city appreciates everything Russ did during her tenure as library director to help make the library a success.

“I became Cathy’s boss when I came to Troy in June 2019. Although we only worked together for about 18 months, I will miss Cathy because she was a pleasure to work with and made my job easier,” Bruner said. “I believe her commitment to community engagement helped make her both popular with patrons and a leader in her profession.

“She leaves big shoes to fill, but I believe we will attract great candidates to lead TPL at this exciting time.”

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