Board taps 35-year library services veteran as new Nashville Public Library director

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 4:55pm
Staff reports

Kent Oliver has been picked to serve as director of the Nashville Public Library, replacing Donna Nicely, who retired last November.

At a meeting Tuesday, the Nashville Library Board voted unanimously to name Oliver the library director. Oliver will assume his duties this summer, according to a release from Mayor Karl Dean’s office.

Tricia Bengel has served as interim director since November, when Nicely retired after 16 years as director. Oliver has directed the Stark County District Library in Canton, Ohio, since November 2001, and has worked in library services for 35 years.

“Kent has extensive experience at all levels of library work and comes highly recommended,” Dean said. “I look forward to him building upon the success of our national award-winning library system.”

Oliver started his career as a reference librarian at the Topeka Public Library in Topeka, Kan. He also served as head of public services at the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia, Mo., and was library director of the Olathe Public Library in Olathe, Kan. He was associate director for branch services for the Johnson County Library in Overland Park, Kan., before taking his current post at the Stark County District Library.

In 2009, the Stark County District Library was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest honor awarded to American Libraries. Nashville Public Library won the award in 2010.

Oliver holds a master of library science from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan. He has a bachelor’s degree from Washburn University in Topeka, Kan.

2 Comments on this post:

By: Moonglow1 on 3/21/12 at 6:53

Moonglow1: the diversity of books at the library is wonderful. Donna did a stellar job and I hope Mr. Oliver will do the same.

By: Eye Nose & Now ... on 3/21/12 at 8:26

Ms.Nicely's legacy as Director will be she allowed an A plus main library to deteriorate to a B plus during her tenure. The library has several qualified security people (NOT rent-a-cops, but Metro civil servants) but Ms. Nicely, in effect, tied
their hands and would not back them up. I have seen those security people actually
taunted by the thugs who congregate on the third floor. Who they SHOULD have
promoted to Director is whoever is chief librarian at the Green Hills Library, the
most civilized branch in town. "All men (people) are created equal" so says the
constitution. So WHY, pray tell, is there so much trouble at the downtown library
when there is NEVER a disturbance at the Green Hills branch? I am baffled.
I am also sarcastic on that....