The Twin Lakes Library System executive and assistant directors will soon both say farewell after serving the Twin Lakes Library System and the community for more than a decade.
Library Executive Director Barry Reese and Assistant Director LaToya Davidson both turned in their resignations Wednesday. Their last official day at work will be Saturday, Feb. 8.
“It’s time for a new voice to be heard at the library. I’ve been here for a long time, and it’s time for someone with fresher ideas. The next person will do some wonderful things,” Reese said. “With the budget battles as I have had, the library is really going to benefit from it and hopefully so will I. I’m excited to see who comes in next and I’ll continue to use the library and hope everybody does.”
“Very few people understand the intricacies of working in library administration, and I’m a better person for having done so. It’s hard to say goodbye, but I know it’s the right time,” Davidson added. “More than anything I’ll miss working with the person I have called my best friend for almost a decade. [Reese] and I have been a real team, even when we completely disagree with each other we have always agreed on putting the needs of our patrons first as well as treating our staff more like family. I’m excited for the library and the future, both for myself and the system. I have no regrets.”
The library is governed by an eight-member board of trustees with appointments from the city, county and board of education. Dorothy Brown, chair of the library board, said the state did not provide funding for the assistant director’s position for the coming year, and as a result, the position will not be filled. A search committee consisting of members of the library board and staff will seek to fill the full-time executive director’s position.
“The state will help with finding us an interim [executive director]. We hope to have the interim by Monday, Feb. 10,” Brown said. “We have to do a job description, and we will publicize it in about three weeks on the Georgia Public Library Service website, and wait for people to apply for the position.”
Reese joined the library team as a reference librarian. He later became a cataloger and eventually assistant director In 2003. He has served as the director for the past seven years.
“Growing up as a resident of Milledgeville and a life-long lover of the printed word, this was always my dream job and I want to thank everyone in the community for making my time as director such a pleasure,” he said. “I appreciate the opportunity that I was given. When I took the job, I pictured myself spending the rest of my career here. I was very proud to be associated with the Baldwin County public library and I’ll genuinely miss it.”
During Reese’s tenure as director, he has served on the PINES Executive Committee as chair and the Regents Public Library Advisory Committee.
“During my time as director, we opened a new branch and relocated another. Our fundraising more than tripled over that same period, even in difficult financial times. It’s the first time in the library’s history where we serve everyone, from infancy to retirement age; we have programs for everyone,” he said. “Right now I’m looking at all of my options. I was born in Milledgeville but I live in Gray. I’m hoping to stay in the area and I’ll still write as a side thing.”
Davidson began her career at the local library in 2001 as a page before she worked her way up the ranks to have a hand in various areas within the library. She has been assistant director since 2006. Davidson now looks forward to “something completely different” in the Atlanta area.
“Despite my love of books as a child I never once thought about working in libraries. I can thank Dorothy Carpenter for having nudged me in that direction. Twelve years later I have earned a master’s in library and information science and have gained a wealth of experience that I will take with me as I move on to my next career. I’m excited about possibly doing something completely different; I’m ready for it,” she said. “One of my dreams is to become an executive assistant or office manager, jobs that capitalize on the things I enjoyed most with my assistant director duties. I currently live in Eatonton and my husband and I do plan on moving to the metro area for better opportunities.”
Brown wished Reese and Davidson good luck in their future endeavors on behalf of the board of trustees.
“[Reese] and [Davidson] have done an excellent job. They were very good with fundraising and helping us start the branch out at the lake,” she said. “We thank the public for their support and hope we can continue to offer the kind of service as we have in the past. We have excellent library staff and we’re looking forward to improving our services and offering different kinds of services as well.”