After months of strategizing and searching, the Great Bend Public Library and the Central Kansas Library System came to an agreement last week who they wanted to direct both organizations. Monday afternoon, at the Great Bend Public Library Board of Directors meeting, it was announced they had offered the position to Gail Santy, and she accepted. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, she will succeed Harry Willems who was appointed in January 2009 and served as the organization’s fifth director, a position he held for nine years.
Santy brings a wealth of experience to her new role, it was noted, having worked for the last 10 years as the outreach consultant and general consultant for CKLS.
Santy will split her time between the two entities, with roughly three-fourths of her time spent with the library, and one fourth with CKLS. This, Willems told board members, is how it has been split following a time study he did early into his employment. He added Santy may elect to do a similar time study after she takes on her full responsibilities upon his retirement. This allows for a fair accounting of compensation paid by both entities towards the director’s salary.
The CKLS and GBPL Boards conducted a regional search in August and September which generated several applicants. On Oct. 3, the GBPL Board of Directors met in a special meeting at 4:15 p.m. in the Dane G. Hanson Media Center at he library, where they were given a brief summary of the applications received and the process of the search committee. Ultimately, the committee chose two internal candidates. After some discussion, the board recommended Santy to the search committee.
Citing her experience, knowledge of the organization, and vision for the future, both boards were in agreement, and Santy was determined to be the ideal choice. Now, the CKLS must find a replacement for Santy, who will begin training for her new position in November, and will work side-by-side with Willems through the month of December.
The transition from Willems to Santy is expected to be smooth, Willems said.
“I have complete faith in Gail’s talent, having worked closely with her for the past nine years,” he said.
In other business,the board discussed the upcoming Friends of the Library book sale coming up Oct. 20-24. Board members were encouraged to join the Friends in order to attend the pre-sale. Pat Cale inquired about progress on the new by-laws. Willems said the selection process for his replacement had consumed his attention over the last month, but that he anticipated making further progress in the coming month. Staff will also be invited to give input on an updated mission statement for the library. The next meeting will be Monday, Nov. 13.