The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

August 23, 2013

Birtell staying at Clinton Library

By Katie Dahlstrom
Assistant Editor

---- — CLINTON — Clinton Public Library Director Amy Birtell won’t leave to lead another Iowa public library.

Birtell was one of four top candidates interviewed earlier this month to be the library director at the Waukee Public Library. However, the Waukee Library Board on Saturday chose Jacob Speer, the executive director at the Hussey Mayfield Memorial Public Library in Zionsville, Ind. to fill the position. Speer accepted the position Wednesday.

“I’m somewhat relieved,” Birtell said. “It would take a lot to move and I would feel like I left without finishing what we’ve started.”

The library has been engaged in a $50,000 needs assessment for the their main branch since March. It was reported that Birtell was among the finalists two weeks after options for a $7 million or $14 million library expansion plan were presented to the Clinton City Council.

Clinton Library Board Secretary Dick Kissack said he was shocked to learn Birtell was interviewing for the Waukee position and elated to learn she wasn’t leaving.

“As a board, we are thrilled that Amy is staying with us,” Kissack said. “She has made so many friends and really given our library a new image.”

Birtell has been the Clinton Public Library Director since late 2011. She said she was not actively pursuing another position, but decided to interview in Waukee after search firm John Keister and Associates contacted her.

“I’m very happy to be staying here. We’ve got a lot of things going on. We’ve got the chance to accomplish a lot of monumental things,” Birtell said. “We had a library consultant visit and she said the attitude has really changed to positive in Clinton. I feel like I’ve been a part of that.”

She won’t be doing any interviews in the future.

“I’m excited for what the future holds here,” she said.