By Chris Bavender
From a career start in marketing for a construction firm, to working in a data center for the banking industry, Kelly Fann’s path to executive director of the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library has given her an outside perspective on how technology and public relations can “invigorate services.”
“Libraries must market themselves just like every other industry; people only know what we have to offer if we promote it,” Fann said. “From the IT standpoint, technology and libraries are deeply intertwined. People come to libraries to learn how to use technology, acquire digital materials, access the internet, utilize research databases, dig into genealogy, digitize physical materials and so forth.”
Her familiarity with technology, she said, allows the 37-year-old to see potential new solutions to “solve old problems, as well as visualize opportunities to offer new and exciting technological innovations.”
Fann’s first job in the library world was at Leavenworth (Kan.) Public Library, where she was the information technology coordinator and oversaw the technical services department. Her next job took her to the Lawrence (Kan.) Public Library as its information technology coordinator.
“When I set on my path of librarianship, I did so with the mindset that I would no longer be in IT. As it happened, IT was my foot in the door into libraries,” Fann said.
It was her passion for reading and love of community engagement that kept her in the field.
“I want people to come to the library to interact, learn, converse, study, as well as engage with fellow community members,” Fann said. “I love libraries because we have the capability of enriching and changing lives; libraries and librarians serve their community, and I derive the most joy in serving. And, of course, books!”
For the first two months after joining Hussey Mayfield in April, Fann spent time meeting community members, attending local civic meetings, meeting fellow librarians across the metro and familiarizing herself with the library’s operations, history and culture.
“At this point, I’m in observation mode as I get the lay of the land and look at our areas of strengths and other ways we can improve our service,” she said. “In my first year, I will work closely with library staff as we identify specific goals and the action steps necessary to achieve those goals, moving the Library forward with its strategic plan. I welcome the opportunity to dive in, shake things up and see what amazing opportunities lie ahead to best serve this amazing community.”