Des Moines Public Library Director Candidate Forum
Wednesday, June 13, 6:00-7:30 PM
1000 Grand Avenue, 50309
The public is invited to hear the Library Director finalists discuss the future of the public library during this open event.
The Des Moines Public Library will host a public candidate forum as part of the process of selecting a new Director. This will be the public’s opportunity to interact with the finalists during the interview process.
To start the program, each candidate will give a 10-minute presentation on the topic: “Which two library trends will most impact the public library of the future?” Following the individual presentations, the finalists will sit as a panel to answer audience questions.
The public forum is part of a two-day interview process being organized by Bradbury Miller Associates, an executive search firm based in Kansas City.
Candidates listed in alphabetical order by last name.
Western U.S./International Sales Consultant
Adam Brooks is currently the Western U.S./International Sales Consultant, ByWater Solutions. Adam has worked in public libraries for 15+ years. Starting as a reference librarian in Naples, Florida, he then moved to Houston (TX) Public Library where he managed two branches concurrently. From Houston, Adam became a Library Director in Texas (Portland) and Florida (Hernando County). He developed new programs, built community awareness and earned numerous awards including Florida Library of the Year. He also served as Hernando County’s Director of Community Services (which included the Library, Community Development, Cooperative Extension, Housing Public Health, Social Services and Veterans Services). He used that experience to develop and improve relationships with many community organizations.
Adam has worked in a major urban library, county government and a municipal library environment. He is a collaborative leader who believes that facilitating interaction between community organizations and the library provides mutual benefits, and helps groups accomplish their similar goals. He has served as a mentor in the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute, worked with numerous community civic organizations and contributed to the continuing education committee in the regional consortium by helping develop training programs and paraprofessional recognition events.
Adam earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Kent State University. He is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Hernando, and won the Outstanding Leadership Award for Hernando County in 2014.
Director, Neighborhood Services
Brooklyn Public Library
Sheila Schofer is a library professional with 20+ years of experience in library management, staff development, cultural programming, fundraising and community partnerships. She is part of the executive management team at the Brooklyn Public Library in New York City. Working in the nation’s fifth largest library system has given her the experience and opportunity to take on increasing levels of responsibility. In her current position as Director of Neighborhood Services, Sheila is responsible for overseeing the operations of over 500 staff in 58 neighborhood branch libraries and 4 bookmobiles. A large part of this includes continuously evaluating hours of operation and staffing models in public service areas and working closely with a team of regional library supervisors. She is responsible for ensuring that staff is informed of, understands, and actively participates in system-wide initiatives and innovations. To do this, Sheila maintains strong communication with library staff and promotes staff development ranging from New Librarians Bootcamps to Leadership Development.
One area that Sheila feels has given her some of her best experience is working on inter-departmental teams and with community stakeholders on a range of initiatives from advocacy efforts at City Hall, to the planning and building of a large multi-story branch, to the roll out of a new customer service model and re-worked public service delivery. Sheila was born, raised and educated in Iowa and is delighted to explore the opportunity of taking the next step of her career in the state she has always called “home.”
Barr Memorial Library
Michael Steinmacher, the 2016 Library of Congress Federal Librarian of the Year, is the director of Barr Memorial Library, which serves Soldiers, families and the extended military community in and around Fort Knox, Kentucky. Michael has transformed Barr, the installation’s public library, through building community support, attracting donors and sponsors, and developing popular and acclaimed programs and services such as the Authors at Your Library series, Star Wars Reads, and one of the first Army Library Makerspaces. Under his leadership, Barr was the first Army Library to achieve Department of Defense Premier Status and it was named the Library of Congress’s Federal Library of the Year in 2014. Steinmacher’s community-focused library philosophy hinges on customer service delivered by caring, empowered library staff, utilizing both traditional library services and technology to make the Library a destination unto itself.
Before his work at Fort Knox, Michael served in progressively responsible professional positions with the Louisville Free Public Library. He managed 16 locations serving a diverse range of constituents in both inner city and suburban locations. Michael, as manager of the Iroquois Branch Library, led the development and implementation of the system’s award-winning International program.
Michael’s work on topics ranging from customer service to RFID has been presented at professional conferences and he has been published in a wide range of venues, including American Libraries and Library Journal.
Waterville (ME) Public Library
Sarah Sugden is a passionate, positive advocate for libraries and the humans they serve. A life-long library lover, Sarah got her first library job when she was 14 years old, at her local public library. That first library job began a 30 year career working in libraries of various types serving diverse communities of varying sizes. Her library work has included library administration, facility maintenance, renovations, and expansions, financials, fundraising, youth services, cataloging, collection development, library mascots, programming, outreach, and puppetry. Sugden is absolutely convinced that being a librarian is the best job in the world.
In 2005, Sarah returned to the public library where she had gotten her first library job (and first library card!). As the Director of the Waterville Public Library in Waterville, Maine, Sarah has led a team in transforming a neglected, dreary library into a vibrant, welcoming community hub and leading civic institution. She was awarded the “I Love My Librarian” Award in 2014 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, American Library Association, and the New York Times. In 2017, under Sarah’s leadership, the Waterville Public Library received from the Institute for Museum and Library Service the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for libraries.
Sarah has been involved with numerous community initiatives and organizations, including Rotary, the local historical society, and the local school board. She is a self-professed bookworm and loves birdwatching, nature, public art, puzzles, and spending time with family and friends. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College and Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. .
Susan Amend Woody
Director of Community Engagement
Des Moines Public Library
Susan Amend Woody is proud to have been born, raised and educated in Des Moines, Iowa. Susan’s work ethic started at an early age as she delivered morning newspapers before school and worked at Younkers Department Store throughout high school. She also spent time at the family business, Amend Meat Packing Company.
Graduating from the University of Iowa with a Finance degree and a minor in English, Susan was hired as a management trainee by Brenton Banks. In 1987, she married Michael. After five years, Susan left the banking world to raise her two young sons, Thomas and Jack. In 1997, Susan opened The Alligator’s Tale, an iconic children’s bookstore. For three years, the bookstore was one of the most unique places in Des Moines and one of the hardest jobs Susan ever loved.
In 2004, Susan accepted a position with the Des Moines Public Library as Library Assistant in Youth Services and later became the Rosie Outreach Coordinator. While working full-time, Susan returned to school and received her Master’s degree in Library Science. Upon completion of her degree, she was hired as Supervising Librarian managing two branches simultaneously. In 2015, Susan was promoted to the newly-created position, Community Engagement Librarian. In this position she oversees library marketing, publicity, outreach and community engagement efforts. She also helms the Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD) author series. In her spare time Susan enjoys kayaking, gardening, teaching religious education and, of course, reading.