Flint, MI—The Flint Public Library Board of Trustees is asking for residents’ help in selecting the library’s next executive director.

With current executive director Kay Schwartz’s retirement set to take effect on June 30, 2023, the Board is welcoming the public to participate in her successor’s selection process on May 10 and May 11.

Schwartz herself is part of the Board’s succession planning committee, and she told Flint Beat she was “flattered” to have been included before explaining how residents will be able to participate over the next two days.

“It’s very, very simple,” Schwartz said. “Wednesday evening, from 5 to 7 p.m., people can come to our Charles Stewart Mott Foundation Community Room, and they will hear a short presentation by each one of the three candidates.”

She said the library’s talent search firm, Bradbury Miller Associates, will emcee the evening, with each of the candidates presenting for 10-12 minutes regarding their ideas on “library strategic priorities” without the other two candidates in the room. 

During the presentations, audience members will have index cards on which to submit their questions for each candidate to answer. 

Schwartz flagged that because the May 10 meeting is technically part of the candidates’ job interview, the search firm is required to filter out any questions that are not appropriate or legal to ask in that context, should such questions be submitted.

Audience members on May 10 will also be given access to a survey to provide feedback on each candidate.

Schwartz said the results of that survey will be consolidated and shared with the Board on May 11—the day the trustees will be conducting the candidates’ interviews. 

Per Board procedure, the public is invited to sit in on those interviews as well as participate in a public comment period, which Schwartz estimated would take place around 3:30 p.m. that afternoon.

“It would be helpful if the people who are commenting have either sat through all three presentations Wednesday evening, or sat through all three interviews [on Thursday],” the outgoing director said. “But the public comment is public comment, and people can get up and use their three minutes however they want it.”

Following public comment, the Board is tasked with deliberating and extending an offer to one of the three candidates, two of whom are from southeast Michigan and one of whom is from out-of-state.

“That doesn’t mean we have a new library director [this week],” Schwartz cautioned. “It means they’re going to make an offer, you know, and then there would be a negotiation and acceptance of the offer.”

For her part, Schwartz said her retirement won’t mean her absence from the Flint Public Library. On the contrary, she said she looks forward to visiting her long-time workplace regularly.

“You know what? You probably could come over to the library and find me sitting in one of those beautiful seats overlooking Kearsley Street, where my office used to be, with a book or a laptop,” she said. “I have not had a chance to enjoy this library building as a patron. So, I plan to do that.”

Public presentations by each of the library’s three executive director candidates will take place on Wednesday, May 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the library’s C.S. Mott Foundation Community Room.

The Special Board meeting to interview and select a candidate for an offer will take place on Thursday, May 11 in the library’s Harris Room. According to a library press release, the interviews will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a lunch break at 12:30 p.m.

Flint Public Library is located at 1026 E. Kearsley St.

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....