After 17 years of service with the Kent District Library, KDL Director Martha Esch will retire effective Friday, June 18. During her tenure, Esch led a number of efforts to help ensure KDL stayed at the forefront of library innovation and service. She was instrumental in the creation of the KDL Fund, which helps to provide continued funding for early literacy and other essential library services through charitable giving. She also spearheaded three strategic plans, brought radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to KDL to improve efficiency and promote self check-out, and instituted a floating collection which reduces the amount of time items spend in transit from one library to another.
Since becoming Director in 2001, the number of KDL branch visitors per year has increased almost 50% to over 3.6 million in 2009 and total items checked out per year has gone up over 77% to almost 6.4 million. Several new library building projects were also completed by the municipalities served by KDL, including Byron Township, East Grand Rapids, Sand Lake/Nelson Township, and an expansion of the Cascade Township library. Most recently, Esch was presented the Michigan Library Association’s 2010 Librarian of the Year award, honoring outstanding members of the library profession.
“It has been an honor to serve as the KDL Director and participate in such a strong regional partnership with 26 communities in Kent County as well as the Kent County Board of Commissioners. I am happy to have been a part of such tremendous growth and to have witnessed such strong community support”, said Esch.
Assistant Director Cheryl Garrison will serve as Interim Director until a new Director is hired. Please join us in wishing Martha a happy retirement!
Posted by: Eric