Ann Arbor librarian chosen to lead Urbana Free Library

Ann Arbor librarian chosen to lead Urbana Free Library

URBANA — Celeste Choate, associate director of the Ann Arbor District Library in Michigan, has been selected as the new executive director of the Urbana Free Library.

She replaces Debra Lissak, who was replaced as executive director following a book "weeding" controversy, when library patrons complained that too many books were being removed from library stacks too quickly. She and the board mutually agreed to end her employment after a few weeks of heated public comment at board meetings.

Lissak no longer works at the library but remains on its payroll through July 5.

Choate will begin at Urbana on April 1.

The library board is expected to finalize the contract with Choate at a special meeting Tuesday night.

Her salary has not been disclosed.

"I am thrilled to become the new executive director of the Urbana Free Library," Choate said. "It is really clear to me that Urbana values and loves its library, and I look forward to engaging the community and staff to help The Urbana Free Library continue to evolve, building on the accomplishments of its almost 140-year history as we move into the future."

Choate has worked at Ann Arbor for six years, with responsibility for youth and adult services and collections, circulation and outreach services, and management of a staff of 170 employees.

She holds a master's degree in Information and Library Science from the University of Michigan.

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annabellissimo wrote on February 14, 2014 at 5:02 pm

No candidates from the #1 school for library science, the University of Illinois?  Really, when one thinks of professional librarians and excellent educations, one thinks of the University of Illinois, which, it seems to me, is right down the street from the Urbana Free Library!  She isn't even a University of Illinois graduate at any level. The Urbana Free Library is a wonderful library but I wonder about this choice. Did she simply assert that she was opposed to weeding or something? 

xb wrote on February 14, 2014 at 8:02 pm

- Avoidance of intellectual inbreeding.

- % of graduates from U of I library school with the experience required and the desire to be a candidate for the executive director of Urbana Free Library is probably very very small.

- It would be more significant of a point if the selected candidate was not the best available person for the job.