Sheryl Thomas


Sheryl Thomas

MLIS 2011
Assistant Director
Erie County Public Library
Erie, PA USA

What I am doing now.

I am currently the Assistant Director at the Erie County Public Library in Pennsylvania. I am responsible for the day to day running of the main branch in our system and for supporting the Executive Director in the overall running of the system. Budgets, personnel (hiring, discipline, etc.), schedules, publicity, social media, patron complaints (and compliments!), construction management (we’re building a makerspace!) and everything in between are part of my day. I enjoy the way structure and spontaneity merge and mix in this position. I start each day with an idea of what I’ll do and want to accomplish and am surprised at the end of each day at where I end up.

I previously worked as the Branch Manager of the Big Bear Lake Library, then Adult Services Manager at the Lewis Library and Technology Center, and, finally, as the Collection Development Lead for San Bernardino County Library. With SBCL, I had the opportunities to manage a branch in the mountains, work large events showcasing over $200,000 in new books, order an opening day collection for a new branch, plan programs, manage staff, and have a great time with a growing and dynamic system.

What are the most valuable skills I use in my job?

I have used a bit of everything from each class that I took at the iSchool. I’ve realized that librarianship and management is being able to do a bit of everything well and a lot of some things excellently. I didn’t necessarily expect to jump into a management position quickly after graduation so I found lessons learned from my management and leadership classes to be extremely helpful. In my previous position I was in charge of ordering and collection development for a 32 branch strong library. While at SJSU I had never thought of working in that type of role. So I am very glad I had decided to take a few classes in each area; my collection development and cataloging and classification classes really came in helpful!

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