Enoch Pratt Free Library Appoints Award-Winning Ohio Librarian as New CEO

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Heidi Daniel speaks in Baltimore. Still via video from Enoch Pratt Free Library/Facebook

Carla Hayden left some big shoes to fill after she joined the Library of Congress, but after months of searching, the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s search committee has finally chosen her replacement.

Heidi Daniel will take the helm of Baltimore’s public library system this year after serving as executive director of Ohio’s Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County for the last five years.

Daniel joined Enoch Pratt for the announcement today. In an address, she called Baltimore’s library system “one of the crown jewels of public libraries in the country” and spoke about her experience bringing job and career services and public internet to Youngstown’s libraries.

“Youngstown and Baltimore, I learned, have surprising similarities,” she said. “I see both cities as places where people fight to improve their cities and make it an amazing place.”

She also said she feels she bears an “extra responsibility” to Baltimore as the new CEO of the library system. She plans to continue expanding access to knowledge and information to the public and utilize technology to help communities, she said.

The 2015 Ohio Librarian of the year, Daniel has helped lead her 15-branch library system through a remodeling of one branch and the construction of two new buildings and, more recently, began supervising construction of an additional branch, according to a release. She’s also introduced pop-up libraries, mobile Wi-Fi hotspots and other new services the the Youngstown and Mahoning County library system.

Before coming to Ohio, she worked for public library systems in Houston and Oklahoma City.

 

Interim Pratt Library CEO Gordon Krabbe said in a statement that he’s “trilled the [Board of Trustees] has selected a new CEO with Ms. Daniel’s credentials and experience. She is joining the library at a time of exciting growth and expansion, and I look forward to working with her to fulfill those opportunities.”

Mayor Catherine Pugh also commented on the new hire, saying in a statement that Daniel has “impeccable credentials and a solid record of accomplishment in the library field,” and that she looks forward to working with her.

Pratt’s central branch downtown is currently undergoing a $115 million renovation of its interior to expand public space and conference rooms, create new wings dedicated to children’s and young adult reading and update its technology infrastructure, among other changes. Officials predict construction will wrap up in spring of 2019.

Daniel will fill in as permanent CEO for Dr. Carla Hayden, who was tapped by President Barack Obama to be the 14th librarian of congress last summer. She assumed office on Sept. 16, 2016.

Daniel will start her new position with Enoch Pratt this summer, according to an announcement from the library system.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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