The busy time of year is here for the Barrie Public Library and the new CEO is ready to jump in feet first.
Lauren Jessop is the new CEO of the BPL, a job which sees the 34-year-old at the helm of many tasks including working with the library board, setting strategic directions, programming, policy development and overseeing pretty much everything that the downtown and Painswick branches need done.
“I’ve been here for just over a year and was previously the director of customer experience which oversees all the public services the library has,” said Jessop. “It gave me a real good view of just how much the Barrie library does in and for the community. There is something happening year-round here and it shows that the community still considers us a hub or centre.”
Jessop grew up in Leamington and went to the University of Guelph to obtain an undergraduate degree in history and received a masters degree in library and information science from Western. From there Jessop headed out west to further her library career and while she found all she wanted professionally, she and her family knew when it was time to come home.
“I spent the bulk of my career in Alberta working for a regional library system out there and I progressed in various roles there,” said Jessop. “When I left there I was the assistant director and gained a lot of experience from great mentors, but timing is a funny thing. There were a lot of different positions opening due to retirement and my husband and I knew that with two little ones we wanted to be closer to the grandparents.”
The job of CEO of the Barrie library system will not be easy, especially at this time of year. Not only is there talk of more branches eventually being added to the ever-growing Barrie landscape, but having been officially hired May 1, Jessop jumps in at a time when the BPL has a lot of programs and activities happening onsite.
“We as a city are growing and city council is working with us on a couple of new branches in the south and annexed lands and I’m fortunate enough to be taking this role surrounded by a great team who is ready to go and helping me learn whatever I don’t know,” said Jessop. “We are definitely busy in the summer and as soon as school gets out. We have a great summer reading program where summer students will go out to schools and promote reading, we have a number of activities and drop-in events daily for everyone; and we see many regulars who are everyday tro take advantage of them.”For more information on all BPL programs at both local branches, check out the website at www.barrielibrary.ca