New library director selected

Jennifer Hess

DANVILLE – It’s been a busy week back to work for Interim Danville Public Library Director Jennifer Hess.

She’s back from maternity leave and was announced on Thursday as the new director.

Hess is taking the place of former director Theresa Tyner, who resigned earlier this summer to become director of the Crawfordsville, Ind., library.

Hess has served as the library’s assistant director since November 2017. Hess lives in Danville with her husband and daughter. Her appointment is effective Sept. 3.

Hess said becoming director is “an honor and a privilege. I’m very excited to move the library forward.”

She appreciates the library board’s confidence in her.

Hess said she’s had a lot of proud moments at the library so far and looks forward to the future.

While with the library, she created some new programs, including Girls Who Code, the DPL Writers’ Group and Say Yes to the Prom Dress event. She was involved with creation of the library’s new website and logo.

Hess has been involved with day-to-day library operations, including staff evaluation, supervision, hiring and promotion, budget creation and ongoing updates of the facility’s marketing and disaster plans.

Hess has a Master of Library Science degree from the University of Illinois, a Bachelor of Arts in English and Theater degree from Eastern Illinois University and an Associate of Arts in English degree from Danville Area Community College.

She was previously circulation supervisor at DACC, assistant manager at the Orange County (Orlando, Fla.) Library System and worked at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. She founded Dark Horse Theatre Company in 2013, and has worked with Red Mask, DLO Musical Theatre and the DACC Players.

Linda Bolton, president of the library’s board of trustees, said they interviewed five candidates — two of whom were local and three from elsewhere in Illinois.

“They were all really good,” Bolton said. “Jennifer really sailed.”

Bolton said Hess is knowledgeable about the community and “it kind of helps lead us to where (the library) needs to be.”

Hess’ salary is set at $69,065.13.

“So many things are going to happen,” Bolton said about the library’s future. That includes continuing to make the library relevant in the electronic age, reaching all parts of the diverse community through more outreach and the library continuously changing and growing.

She said the director search process allowed then to survey all the library staff and understand any concerns.

She said the employees love the library and working there and they want to build on that.

Bolton said she’s happy to have a full board again, including younger members.

“I’m just very excited,” Bolton said.

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