The Southwest Public Library Board of Trustees has selected Meredith Wickham, most recently Director of First Regional Library located in northern Mississippi, to succeed Mark Shaw as SPL's next Director. Shaw is retiring at the end of January after 35 years at the library.
Grove City, Ohio—In late January, Southwest Public Libraries (SPL) will start a new chapter in its history as it bids farewell to current library Director Mark M. Shaw and welcomes new Director Meredith E. Wickham. Shaw is retiring at the end of January after 35 years at SPL, having served as Director since 2002. SPL’s Board of Trustees appointed Wickham as the next Director after conducting a nationwide search with the assistance of library executive search consultants Bradbury Miller Associates. Wickham will start January 25.
Meredith currently serves as Director of First Regional Library, overseeing operations for one of the largest public library systems in Mississippi. Previously, she served in public libraries in South Carolina and Mississippi as a Circulation Assistant, Young Adult Librarian, Branch Manager, and System Director. The American Library Association (ALA) named Meredith an Emerging Leader, and the Mississippi Library Association (MLA) granted her one of its most prestigious honors, the Peggy May Award.
Meredith received her Bachelor of Arts in French and German from Berry College in Rome, Georgia and her Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.
“Meredith is a seasoned professional who will lead us into the future. She is a fierce advocate for public libraries in the areas of youth literacy, staff development, and equity. She also has extensive experience lobbying for funding in her state, among other talents. We are excited to welcome her to Buckeye country,” says SPL’s Board of Trustees.
Shaw started as Treasurer for the library system in 1986 before quickly adding the title of Operations Manager and eventually Director. Holding both an MBA and MLIS, Shaw’s financial acumen and careful stewardship has helped SPL not only weather several major economic downturns and cuts to funding during his tenure but also grow exponentially. During his years as Director, SPL passed its first ever successful levy, which voters renewed this past April, built a new Grove City Library in partnership with the City of Grove City, and expanded Westland Area Library.
“I am unsure where the library would be today without Mark’s financial acumen, keen ability to gather people in support of SPL, and all the sheer hard work and determination he put into promoting SPL’s value to the community,” says Michele Lowe, Assistant Director of the Westland Area branch of SPL. “The work he has done here during his 35 years of service has had a major impact on the organization and will not be forgotten.”
Wickham will spend time with Shaw before his departure to ensure a smooth and successful transition.
Stay tuned for farewell reflections from current Director Mark Shaw as well as an introduction from incoming Director Meredith Wickham.