February 23, 2018

A Twist in Georgia: Nonlibrarian Temporarily Manages Main Library

By LJ Staff

The nine-branch Chattahoochee Valley Regional Library System, GA, is going through some changes, and one of them involves Gary Wortley, a businessman hired to temporarily manage the main library in Columbus. System director Claudya Muller noted that, until 2001, it was the director’s job to manage the main library. The branch manager subsequently appointed has recently retired, and "in order to leave as many options open as possible while we finish the strategic planning," she said, "I decided to use an outside interim manager. He has extensive management experience as well as a recent stint as the interim manager of the Texas Ballet." Muller said that, for example, the planning process might lead to a new focus on nonprint materials, and thus a less traditional library hire.

Muller said that, when she returned from the American Library Association annual conference at the end of June, she had a message from the Dallas-based Wortley – whose wife had gotten a new job in Georgia – asking for advice on finding a new position. "I got on the phone and said, ‘Rather than my introducing you around, would you be interested in doing another interim position?’" Muller recalled. She said Wortley was met with some antagonism by professional staff, but convinced them he could bring his experience to bear. He’s begun a crash course interviewing administrative staffers about library operations. "He brings a genuine interest in and love of people, and a strong commitment to teams," Muller said. "This is strictly six months. We’re not looking for him to answer reference questions or design an ILS system. He is here to work with the staff and offer the expertise he brings."