'Go-getter' named county library director

August 21, 1994|By Shirley Leung | Shirley Leung,Sun Staff Writer

The Harford County Board of Library Trustees has chosen Irene Padilla as the county's new library director.

The trustees unanimously selected Ms. Padilla at its meeting Thursday. The 41-year-old Joppatowne resident replaces Philip A. Place, who resigned.

Her appointment is effective immediately.

Ms. Padilla is Harford's fourth director in its 48-year history. She has been deputy director of the county system since 1990. She was acting director for six months last year and again after Mr. Place left.

"I think you can see by the smile on my face that I'm very, very happy," said Ms. Padilla, during a meeting at the library's administrative headquarters in Belcamp. "This is a long, longtime goal of mine to be a director of a county library."

Ms. Padilla served in administrative posts in Virginia and Michigan library systems. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in library science from Western Michigan University. She also has a master's degree of public administration from George Mason University.

Ms. Padilla was chosen from 14 candidates for the post, which pays $61,500 a year. Her responsibilities include overseeing the county's nine library branches, managing 200 employees and developing long-range plans.

The search for a new director began in late June after Mr. Place announced he would step down to become director of the Warioto Regional Library Center in Clarksville, Tenn.

Mr. Place headed the Harford system for five years, bringing stability to a system that had been strained by low staff morale. In an earlier interview with The Sun, Mr. Place said "stability" was his biggest accomplishment.

Ms. Padilla's swift appointment seems to be a move to maintain that stability and build continuity.

"I'm delighted," said Library Board President Pat Massarelli. "Because we had worked with Irene before, we knew who we would be working with. She's a go-getter. I think she will be more aggressive and push harder for things the library needs."

Ms. Padilla says she hopes to continue many of the plans that Mr. Place had begun. "I think it'll be business as usual, and hope to pursue the projects we already have on our plate," she said.

Those projects include the expansion of the Bel Air and Edgewood libraries, and monitoring the library's computer link to other Maryland libraries and with Internet. But Ms. Padilla also hopes to leave her own mark on the growing library system. She said she looks forward to developing long-range plans that include a new library in Abingdon and creating more community partnerships.

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