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Library eases criteria for new director

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The Salt Lake County Library Board has reduced its requirements for a new library director in hopes that its fourth search for a replacement will finally yield a winner.

The board loosened the qualifications in April to include master's degrees in two other fields.

"We're no longer looking for just a master of library science degree," David Wilson, interim county library director and also the associate director, said.

He said the board has decided to go with minimal educational requirements. Candidates now either need a master's of library science degree, a master's of public administration, or a master's of business administration degree to apply for the post. Similar degrees will also be considered. Four years of upper-level management experience are also being required.

Wilson said the board only advertised the job along the Wasatch Front, from Ogden to Provo, because it feels there are plenty of candidates here who have those qualifications.

In fact, the library system had some 50 applicants when applications closed on June 1. Those candidates have been screened and reduced to just 10. Those candidates will now be brought in for an in-person screening by the library system staff, and the list may be narrowed to two or three by July 4. For the final selection, the entire library board will be involved in the process, too.

Salt Lake County has been without a library director since late 1999 when Eileen B. Longsworth, director for 12 years, resigned to take a similar job in Albuquerque. It has been a hard-luck story ever since, with the board's latest selection — a man from Canada — turning down the post in April.

The board had 23 applications in that third round of trying to fill the job. The board's initial search in early 2000 only yielded 14 applications, and so the board widened the search in the summer of last year. The board thought it had a worthy candidate last summer, but the man turned down the job at the last minute to take another, similar position.

The director of the Salt Lake County Library System must manage 18 libraries.

E-MAIL: lynn@desnews.com