Meet the Candidates for Library Director Oct. 10

Please direct all media inquiries to Library spokesperson Janet Loew
Communications / Public Relations Director / Office 330-744-8636, ext. 51620

Open Event is at 6 p.m., Tuesday, October 10, at Austintown Library

 Public Forum Gives Community an Opportunity to Meet Candidates for Library Executive Director

AUSTINTOWN (October 2, 2017/For Immediate Release) –Following interviews for the position of Executive Director of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC), four candidates have been selected as finalists. These candidates will appear at a public forum at 6 p.m., Tues., Oct. 10, in the meeting room of Austintown Library, 600 S. Raccoon Rd.

The candidates were presented to the Search Committee by the firm of Bradbury Miller Associates, which is assisting in this national search.

Library Trustee President Dr. David Ritchie is inviting the public to attend this open event and have a look at the candidates.

The four candidates recommended by the Library Trustee Search Committee are as follows. Descriptions were provided by Bradbury Miller.


Michelle Alleman

Michelle Alleman, director of the McKinley Memorial Library in Niles, was raised in Youngstown and her love for libraries was kindled at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County.

With over 18 years of experience working in Ohio’s public libraries, Michelle has led with creativity, energy, and innovation. She has forged strong community partnerships at each of her previous libraries. Returning home to Youngstown in 2012, Michelle again became an active patron of PLYMC. In 2014, she served on PLYMC’s West Library Advisory Committee.

Michelle is a Board member of the Northeast Ohio Regional Library System, President-elect of the Niles Rotary, and a member of Leadership Mahoning Valley 2018. As director of McKinley Memorial Library for the last 20 months, Michelle has overseen a major building repair project, encouraged staff development, made the library more patron-friendly, and increased the library’s presence in the community.

She has strengthened the library’s relationships with the Friends of the Library and Niles City Schools, and began partnerships with the Niles Wellness Center, Niles SCOPE senior center, and Fairhaven. As a Youngstown resident, Michelle is committed to providing responsive library services and would be honored to serve as the next leader of PLYMC.


Patricia Crosby

Patricia Crosby, Assistant Director of the Pickens County Library System in the upstate area of South Carolina, is a life-long traveler, voracious reader, and access-for-all advocate. She strives for excellent customer service, community engagement, and “getting to yes.” She has extensive experience partnering with local governments, community organizations, private business associations, and labor unions.

Patricia brings varied and innovative experience from the private sector, volunteer work, and over 20 years of public library service. These include: independent archivist at the corporate level with Ford Motor Company, volunteer with the Toledo Humane Society, Frogtown Low Vision Support Group, Meals on Wheels, and several veteran and senior organizations. Her library career progressed from librarian through management positions at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library and on to her current position in South Carolina.

Her most rewarding moments have been watching the success of emerging leaders she’s helped developed, fostering strong and team environments, and hearing the community declare, “I love this library!”

Patricia earned her Master’s Degree in history from the University of Toledo and Masters of Library and Information Science, along with an archival administration certificate, from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.

When not working or volunteering, Patricia is outside hiking, doing yoga, hanging out with Siamese Leary, riding Harleys, or travelling the world with her husband and love-of-her-life Todd.


Aimee Fifarek

Aimee Fifarek is the Deputy Director of Information Technology and Digital Initiatives at Phoenix Public Library in Arizona.  She grew up in Marinette, WI, on the shores of Lake Michigan, which she occasionally saw when she didn’t have her nose in a book.

She attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, earning a Master’s Degree in English and in Library and Information Science.  Aimee’s 20-year library career has taken her from Milwaukee to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and now to Scottsdale, AZ.  During this time, she has worked in both academic and public libraries and has developed expertise in all areas of Information Technology, materials selection, collection management, and administration.

Aimee has authored numerous professional articles.  She is the immediate Past President of the Library Information Technology Association (a division of the American Library Association), a graduate of the Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL), and has she received awards for Technological Innovation and Outstanding Library Service.

Aimee and her husband are avid gardeners, cooks, and frequent caretakers of neighborhood cats. Aimee believes that the enduring power of the library resides in its staff and their ability to help members of the community achieve their goals by connecting them with the information and services they need.


Maria Gebhardt

Maria Gebhardt currently works for Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), the sixth largest school district in the nation, as the Manager of Integrated Marketing Communications and Social Media. She earned a Master of Science in Library and Information Studies degree from Florida State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Florida Atlantic University.

In her current position, she has increased the number of Twitter followers for BCPS from 20,000 to 90,000+ in just over two years and has continuously increased statistics for major events and programs. Previously, Maria spent more than a decade with Broward County Library where she received numerous national awards for the library’s electronic newsletter, monthly magazine and marketing campaigns.

In 2015, Maria was honored with the President’s Award from the Florida Library Association (FLA) for her outstanding dedication and service. Since 2010, she has been the editor of the “Florida Libraries” journal, which she transformed from a newsletter-formatted publication to an academic journal. Additionally, Maria presented at this year’s FLA conference as part of two break-out sessions. Maria serves as a judge for the Florida Book Awards and the Royal Palm Literary Award Competition.

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Library Trustees Set Special Meeting October 11

YOUNGSTOWN (Oct. 4, 2017/For Immediate Release) – The Board of Trustees, Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County (PLYMC), will hold a special session at 8:30 a.m. on Wed., Oct. 11, in the meeting room of Main Library, 305 Wick. Ave.

The purpose is to meet with the Search Committee and Bradbury Miller Associates regarding the executive director search. The meeting is expected to adjourn into an executive session to consider the appointment of a public employee, namely, to discuss potential candidates for the executive director position.

Please note: Main Library does not open until 9 a.m. For this meeting, attendees can enter through the staff entrance at the back of the building.

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