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Lance Werner

Kent District Library, MI
Executive Director
Lance Werner has served as Executive Director for Kent District Library since 2011. He received a juris doctorate degree from Michigan State University’s College of Law and his master’s degree in Library Science from Wayne State University (WSU). In 2018, he was chosen as Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year, and in years past, he was the recipient of the Joey Rodger Leadership Award from the Urban Libraries Council, Librarian of the Year Award from the Michigan Library Association (MLA), the WSU Distinguished Alumni award, and Library Journal’s Mover and Shaker Award. Lance is currently involved in the ALA Policy Corps, WSU’s Capital Campaign, MLA’s Legislative committee, and is a fellow at Michigan Political Leadership Course. Lance was recently named as a candidate for the 2020-21 presidency of the American Library Association.

In his tenure as KDL Director, Lance has undertaken a number of successful projects including the opening of a satellite library branch in an underserved local high school, working with KDL’s HR Director to develop staffing assessment tools to determine if candidates skillsets, both soft skills and hard skills, are a good fit for library services, convincing the Board at his very first meeting to invest $400k in ebooks (KDL now has one of the most robust collections in the US), testifying before the Michigan Senate and House committees to win tax capture amnesty for libraries in a fiscally conservative region, conducting many educational workshops for successful millages, securing health care for part-time KDL employees, and securing grant money and community support to revive the library’s bookmobile after a 30-year hiatus.

Lance’s mantra of kindness, empathy, and love has not only created a covetable work culture at KDL, but has also trickled into the way staff approaches customer service with their new “KDL Way” relationship-based service initiative. This mantra is also important when considering other local library systems, as Lance is a big advocate in their successes. He has helped libraries all over the state of Michigan with millage campaigns, director searches, information technology services, cataloguing, and other necessary support.

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