By Peggy Revell on March 13, 2018.
There’s a new chief librarian in town. Or there will be starting in April.
Medicine Hat Public Library’s board has announced the hiring of Ken Feser as its new CEO.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting people and getting plugged into the community. I can’t wait to get started,” said Feser, who comes to Medicine Hat from Edmonton after serving for the past eight years as a library consultant with the public library services branch of the provincial government.
Hailing from Vancouver Island, Feser has more than 20 years experience working in library services, including the Cleveland Museum of Arts and the Regina Public Library.
“I’ve always been in a management or support kind of role, and I really wanted to get on the front line and get my hands dirty with this business and profession that I’ve been in for all this time,” he said. “I have some big dreams and ideas about what libraries can do.”
His first priority though, is to meet with the board, staff and people in the community and “get a finger on what’s going on in Medicine Hat.”
“I really want to see the library be very connected to what’s going on locally, and answering local needs, whatever those are. If it’s all about young families, we go in that direction. If it’s support for seniors, that’s another direction.”.
The trend in libraries he’s excited about is being the “community hub” where people come and do things.
“It’s not just about sort of passively getting stuff and taking it home,” he said. “It’s about stuff happening at the library.”
He’s also excited about the idea of maker spaces, where people can come to the library and create things.
Feser has been to Medicine Hat before as part of his job with the province, mostly to run public meetings as the library put together its strategic plan.
Part of what he’s looking forward to in Medicine Hat is that it’s a “really good solid institution,” that’s “well run.”
“It’s nice, I feel like I’m not coming in to fix a disaster or anything like that. It gives me a lot of confidence, and makes me feel like we’ll be able to just take our time and move forward in a measured way and do it right.”
Feser’s first day on the job is April 2, while a public reception is slated for April 5 from 4-6 p.m. so people can meet him.
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