New director: Orton at the helm of SJI Library

Laurie Orton - Courtesy of SJI Library
Laurie Orton
— image credit: Courtesy of SJI Library

San Juan Island Library has a new director.

The library's board of trustees announced Thursday, Jan. 17, its selection of veteran librarian Laurie Orton of Henderson, Nev., as director of the public library. Orton was chosen from a list of nearly 40 candidates that applied for the position during a regional and nationwide search.

Orton impressed both the board and the staff during a round of on-island interviews, said board of trustees President Barry Jacobson.

“Ms. Orton's credentials and references were quite impressive," Jacobson said of Orton in a prepared statement announcing her appointment. "After a day full of interviews with her, we found her engaging and knowledgeable. We knew that she was highly qualified and an extremely good fit for our library. She met with the staff, and their review was enthusiastic. We're looking forward to her arrival as our new library director.”

Serving most recently as branch manager of the Lydia Malcolm Library in Henderson, Nev., for 10 years, Orton will begin her tenure as director Feb. 19. She replaces Marjorie Harrison, who, following a two-year tenure as director, left the library at the end of October to take a position with the Oregon State Library in Salem, Oregon.

With more than 20 years in library work, Orton has spent her time gathering knowledge in a variety of academic and public libraries and departments in Austin, Ann Arbor, Boston, and the Las Vegas area. She also spent some years living in Versailles, France. She has experience in library outreach, reference, children and adult services, digital resources, management, and community relations. She has re-opened long-closed libraries and grown libraries from small, storefront operations to larger, stand-alone buildings.

Orton describes herself as passionate about her love of libraries.

“I find great joy in refining a good library into a remarkable one which embodies good customer service, creative problem-solving and forward thinking.” she said. “I’m eager to begin the job of library director and to work closely with the trustees, the staff, the volunteers and the residents to ensure that the San Juan Island Library offers the best library services possible.”

She describes herself as passionate about relocating to the Pacific Northwest as well. Following her interviews, she returned several weeks later to spend a number of days exploring the island and the community.

“I can't imagine living anywhere else at this point," she said. "I’m excited to get to know the community. There seem to be so many activities to do on the island and opportunities to become involved.”



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