New EPL Director Named

Lisa Guedea Carreño, director of the Goshen College Harold and Wilma Good library, will become Elkhart Public Library’s director in August, succeeding Deborah Stewart, current director.

Stewart’s retirement created the vacancy, and library trustees have been in the search process for the new director since January.

Carreño comes to the Elkhart position with a strong background in community service and business in addition to her previous library positions.

During Carreño’s time at Goshen College since 2000, ratings of the library’s services, staff and facilities rose significantly. Satisfaction, as measured by a biennial survey of senior students, rose from a rank in the 60s to 86 percent. Strategic planning led to numerous improvements in library services, resources and space.

Active in the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana, Carreño led in the Network’s work in adapting to change and increased implementation of technology. Carreño is also involved in the Goshen community through arts and cultural programs. She is serving on the Goshen Vision 2025 Steering committee.

Bi-lingual, Carreño regularly interacts with Spanish speakers on campus and in the wider community. She is presently leading a group of Goshen College students on a study-service semester in Nicaragua, Central America.

Prior to returning to Goshen College from which she has an undergraduate degree in music performance with an English minor, Carreño was corporate librarian for Highsmith Inc. of Ft. Atkinson, Wis. Earlier, she was law librarian for a firm in Manchester, New Hampshire.  She has a master’s degree in library and information science from Simmons College, Boston.

She says, “The key question that has shaped much of my professional life is ‘What brings people to the library—physically or virtually—and what keeps them here?’ I believe a large part of the answer lies in the three principles that guide my own practice of librarianship: ideas, information, and inspiration. I am delighted to see these concepts mirrored in Elkhart Public Library’s compelling tagline of ‘Educate—Enlighten—Entertain.’”

Stewart has been EPL’s director since 2010. Before that, she was the assistant director, coming to Elkhart as the manager of the Osolo Branch Library. She has led the Library through several technological improvements, budget cuts because of decreases in tax revenues, a staff realignment, policy revisions and upgrades, two strategic planning studies, and renovation of the Main Library in downtown Elkhart.

Reneé Cocanower, vice-president of the trustees and chair of the search committee, which included four library staff members, said, “While the trustees are ever grateful for Stewart’s excellent leadership, we are looking forward to Carreño’s new leadership skills and involvement in the Elkhart community. We anticipate continuing to meet the Elkhart community’s library needs as we grow into new roles with technology and facility usage.”

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