Kitsap Regional Library Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Jason Driver has been named Kitsap Regional Library's new Library Director. He succeeds current Library Director Jill Jean, who announced her retirement earlier this year.
Jason brings to our Library 20 years of progressive experience in public library service, serving most recently as a District Chief at Chicago Public Library, where he oversaw 14 branches and the supervision of 125 staff. He received his master's degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Thank you to all of our patrons who participated in the public process that launched our search! What you shared helped our search committee, comprised of members of the Board of Trustees, library staff and leadership and community members, establish the essential traits of our next director.
Repeatedly, our interviewers were struck by Jason's strength of vision, not only for what libraries are today, but for what they can be in the future. In conversations with his colleagues, they repeatedly highlighted his commitment to servant leadership, with a passion for mentorship.
"We are thrilled to have recruited Jason to the Library and the community," shared Stephanie George, Vice President of the Board. "Throughout the process, he demonstrated a strong commitment to the core services of libraries today, but also looking forward to what they can be for our communities."
"I am thrilled to accept the position of Library Director at the Kitsap Regional Library. They have demonstrated a track record of community partnerships, stellar public service, a caring and hardworking staff, an engaged board of trustees, and a dynamic foundation." Jason shared, "We were attracted to Kitsap County because of the breathtaking natural beauty, excellent school system, and it's a wonderful place to raise a family!"
Jason and his wife, along with their two children, are already looking for a new home in Kitsap. He will begin as Library Director on February 1, 2022.
To support Jason, our patrons and library staff through this critical transition, current Library Director Jill Jean will be extending her retirement date beyond December 31 to February 15, 2022. She retires after 15 years of service.
The Board's Considerations in Setting the Compensation for the Library Director
The Kitsap Regional Library Board of Trustees has a governance responsibility to ensure the Library delivers value and service in return for the trust and ongoing support of the community. This responsibility requires stewarding the services and resources of the Library for the public good. It also requires that the Board consider the ramifications of investments, not only for today, but for the far-reaching future: to maintain an outstanding library that anticipates and fulfills the community's needs.
Selecting a new Library Director is among the most critical decisions the Library Board of Trustees is asked to make. In our consideration, we invited the community's input to identify the most essential criteria in our search. We are grateful that more than 1,100 people shared what was important to them, including a significant number of library employees. At the top of this list was someone who could cast a vision for all that the Library could be and expertly steward numerous and diverse stakeholders, including building owners, Friends of the Library and community organizations, and leaders in schools, government and other libraries. As a Board, we also recognize the need for someone with solid business acumen to navigate a complicated and restrictive funding environment. To be successful, our next Library Director must innovate, optimizing opportunities that allow the Library to continue to deliver on its promises to our communities, including our staff.
This recruitment process was a long-term investment in our community. We gathered community-wide input, created a search committee comprised of Board members, Library staff and community members and engaged a professional search firm to conduct a national search, ensuring a diverse pool of candidates were invited and considered for the role.
Given the complex nature of this position—requiring extensive experience in a specialized industry to manage the Library's multi-million dollar budget, nearly 200 staff and a capital and technology infrastructure—it is imperative that the Board offer a reasonable, yet competitive, compensation reflective of the impact the Library Director has on the ongoing health of not only our libraries, but the whole of our Kitsap community.
To determine the salary range and ensure good stewardship of public funds, the Library reviewed the salaries of top leaders at Kitsap County public agencies with a regional reach. Additionally, an independent salary survey was commissioned, taking into account various organizational leadership positions, including other libraries. This information set a new baseline and range, which the Board determined was reasonable. Knowing that other similar positions will soon become available in our region, the final salary determination was set to enable us to secure the top candidate in our pool.
The Board selected the candidate that could most deliver on criteria that was universally important to our stakeholders: the ability to cast an inspirational vision for the Library, be a community leader in Kitsap, show a passion for all Kitsap Regional Library has to offer and lead our organization in ensuring that everyone has access to the resources they need to flourish, creating the best possible opportunity for all people in Kitsap to grow, contribute and thrive.