Library system director is named

Wheeler set to assume Carroll post in November

September 24, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Lynn Wheeler, the new director of the Carroll County public library system, fell in love with libraries when she took a part-time job while earning an English degree in Great Falls, Mont.

"That was what led me into a lifelong career," she said yesterday, "the second I stepped into that library" at what is now the University of Great Falls. "I just love libraries."

Wheeler, 55, is now program services coordinator at the College of Information Studies - better known as "the library school" - at the University of Maryland, College Park.

"This is where many, many librarians got their master's degrees in library science - including myself" in 1982, she said yesterday from her office there.

Wheeler will begin Nov. 8 in the Carroll County job, which pays $100,000 a year, said Ann Wisner, library spokeswoman. Wheeler was approved by the board Wednesday to fill the post vacated last month by Linda J. Mielke, director for 11 years, who accepted a job as chief executive officer of the Indianapolis-Marion County libraries in Indiana.

"Carroll County has had, since I can remember, a fabulous reputation for excellence: a smart staff, always innovative, and customer-service oriented - always looking for ways to provide better service. It has a good reputation in Maryland and beyond," Wheeler said.

Now living near Ruxton, Wheeler and her husband, Jerry Klauber, will be looking for a house in Carroll, she said.

A 1966 graduate of Dulaney High School in Baltimore County, Wheeler returned to the area in 1973 and began her full-time career in Baltimore County as a librarian at the old Cockeysville library on York Road, later moving to the Catonsville branch. She joined the county library administration in 1977, and in 1986 was named assistant director, a post she held until 2000.

Wheeler then worked for Library Systems and Services Inc., a Germantown-based consulting firm, where she helped with management at libraries in Fargo, N.D., and in Linden and Jersey City, N.J.

"It was a fabulous opportunity with LSSI to travel around the country, working with different libraries," she said. "It was just great fun, and I met lots of people. Especially in Jersey City: It's like the front door of America. They are astounded that the library existed, coming from all over the world, astounded that this information, this technology, is available to them."

Wheeler left LSSI in 2002 to be closer to home, where her father, former Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Joshua R. Wheeler, was in failing health. She took a job as a grant writer for the Baltimore County school system until June.

In July, she joined the College of Information Studies, which she described as "a very vibrant place with a variety of projects. It is really exciting at the University of Maryland campus, with a tremendous amount of activity as we try to get a handle on how electronic information is going to be impacting us."

For example, she said, there's the new MIM program - for Manager of Information Management.

"It's so cool; there's such a demand now for being able to get a handle on the instantaneous need for information," she said.

Many companies have information officers, she said, not to handle public relations but to disseminate information - and to determine "what the information is saying."

Wheeler is also the president of Citizens for Maryland Libraries, an advocacy group that focuses on legislation affecting libraries, she said.

"All of this experience gave me so much wonderful experience and expertise that I feel I can bring to Carroll County," she said. "Carroll has always been really ahead of the curve."

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