Whitefish Community Library Hires Director

By Beacon Staff

The Whitefish Community Library Board of Trustees has announced the hiring of Joey Kositzky as its library director.

In a press release from the trustees, the board acknowledges that it has often been a bumpy ride on the path to forming an independent library but sees Kositzky’s hiring as a good omen for the future.

The library officially begins operating as its own separate entity from the countywide system on July 1. Supporters of the Whitefish library have disagreed with Flathead County Library System officials over how to divvy up books.

“While it may feel like it’s been nothing but harsh storms for the Whitefish Community Library on its quest for independence,” the release states, “(this) recent announcement…may provide the sunny forecast local residents have been hoping for.”

Kositzky, a 42-year Whitefish resident, is certified by the Montana State Library as a library administrator. Twenty-four of her 27 years of library experience have been spent as manager of the Whitefish branch of the county library system, according to the release.

Kositzky’s responsibilities will include overseeing daily operations, planning future direction of the library, training and evaluating staff, selecting materials and planning programs. The board feels that her experience as branch manager will “allow for a seamless reorganization.”

“What has been accomplished in the past, while important, is not as important as where we, as a library, are going,” Kositzky said. “I believe strongly in a community-based library. I believe in a library that does not dictate to its community, but listens to it; one that recognizes that national trends, appropriate in some areas, may not necessarily apply to the Whitefish community.”

At least one other current Whitefish branch employee will be joining the staff and the board plans to advertise one additional position. The administrative team and board will use the help of more than 80 volunteers as it re-catalogs existing books and sets up new physical and technological equipment.

New book donations are encouraged. Also, new library cards will be available as early as June 6. All Flathead County Library cards will be honored at the Whitefish library as well.

Michael Collins, chairman of the Whitefish library board, said the city and county have agreed to leave roughly half of the 30,000 materials in the library when the two sides officially part ways on July 1.

But a recent lawsuit has raised questions about how many materials will remain. The Whitefish Library Association filed a lawsuit in Flathead County District Court against county library officials asking that all the books remain in place and that the facility stay open until July 1. The county has plans to close the library in late June to remove more books.

On July 1-3, the Whitefish library is holding a book fair. Then it will hold a grand opening celebration on July 16 with complimentary food, entertainment and local author appearances. Kositzky, in the release, said she’s pleased to be part of the transition process.

“As we move forward, I hope we can celebrate the community’s uniqueness and diversity and respond accordingly,” Kositzky said. “I feel extremely privileged to have the opportunity to be part of this vision.”

To find out more about the Whitefish Community Library, visit www.whitefishlibrary.org.

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