The Gloria Coles Flint Public Library Board of Trustees has named Taliah Abdullah as the library's new executive director. Abdullah will assume her new role on July 24, 2023. (Photo courtesy Gloria Coles Flint Public Library)

Flint, MI — The Gloria Coles Flint Public Library Board of Trustees has named Taliah Abdullah as the library’s new executive director.

According to a June 23 library press release, Abdullah will assume her responsibilities beginning July 24, 2023.

Abdullah comes to Flint from the Arapahoe Library District in Colorado, and the release notes “she is a champion and leader for equity, diversity, and inclusion in life, for libraries, and for her team.”

Abdullah holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, as well as a master’s degree in library and information science. She is also working towards her Ph.D. in information science.

“The strategic priorities of the library, and its focus on community, mesh perfectly with who I am and what brings me joy,” Abdullah said. “When I visited Gloria Coles Flint Public Library, I saw a bustling Children’s Room. I met friendly, helpful staff members. The space is beautiful and it offers so many ways to connect with existing and new patrons. I look forward to working in a community that sees its library as a place for collaboration and growth.”

Abdullah will be taking over from current executive director Kay Schwartz who has led the library through its award-winning renovation and recent name change among other achievements over her 25 years in the space—13 of which she spent as the library’s director.

Inside the renovated Flint Public Library in Flint, Mich. on May 18, 2022. The library is celebrating it’s grand opening May 19 and 20th. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

After Schwartz announced her pending retirement in November 2022, the Board engaged Bradbury Miller Associates to help identify candidates and asked for a host of community input, culminating with public presentations and interviews of the finalists in May 2023.

The Board then voted to extend an offer to Abdullah, who has since accepted the trustees’ offer.

According to the library’s release, Abdullah’s “background as a library manager, combined with a deep passion for promoting community-based library programming, will further advance the mission of the organization.”

Board president Reta Stanley said she and the other trustees were thrilled to welcome Abdullah.

“She will bring experience, enthusiasm, great communication skills, and an open door policy to engage staff and deepen the connection with our patrons,” Stanley said. “We feel very lucky to have found her and look forward to the Library’s continued advancement with her at the helm.”

The Gloria Coles Flint Public Library will be hosting a meet-and-greet event for Abdullah on Aug. 2 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and the library is located at 1026 E. Kearsley St.