February 17, 2018

Salt Lake City Library’s Tessman To Retire

By LJ Staff

Nancy Tessman, director of the Salt Lake City Public Library (SLCPL), will retire in June, having earned for the library and herself numerous accolades. A 30-year veteran of the library, Tessman, 53, is in the midst of some personal change. She recently married and the couple plan to travel to Europe for six months. "Right now, I plan to take a little hiatus, do some traveling and regroup," she told the Salt Lake City Tribune. Tessman, at 23, began as the library’s community-relations director and worked her way up the ranks. She became director ten years ago, even though she had not earned an MLS degree. Martin Gomez, president of the Urban Libraries Council, commented to the Tribune that Tessman proved that "running a library these days is not as much about having the degree as it is having a real good sense of community."

Tessman helped the library win a bond referendum in 1998 and then chose architect Moshe Safdie to design a hugely successful building, which opened in 2003. SLCPL was named Thomson Gale/Library Journal Library of the Year for 2006. The Tribune editorialized, "The elfin Tessman and her assistant, Chip Ward, who is also retiring soon, have created a downright enchanted place. Before she goes, this director’s name needs to be etched in marble somewhere. The Nancy Tessman Auditorium at the Main Library has a nice ring to it."