The new head of the Whatcom County Library System is a familiar face.
Christine Perkins, assistant director of Bellingham Public Library, will begin her new job overseeing the library system outside of Bellingham beginning April 15. Her annual salary will be $105,000.
We are delighted to have her on board, said Deb Lambert, chairwoman of the library systems board of trustees, which selected Perkins as the new executive director. Were excited about the future and the possibilities.
The board changed the title of the top job from library director to executive director, but officials said its essentially the same job.
Ive been very fortunate to work with really thoughtful, energetic librarians and library staff who care deeply about providing excellent library service, Perkins, 43, said Thursday, Feb. 28. And I know that staff at Whatcom County Library is equally dedicated.
The two library systems are separate organizations but share their catalog and coordinate their policies because cardholders use both.
I feel like many of them know me already, and those I dont know Im looking forward to figuring out how we can work together to do good things, Perkins said.
The Whatcom County Library System has 160-plus employees and an annual budget of about $7 million. It provides services through nine branch libraries outside of Bellingham, a bookmobile, homebound services, outreach and its website.
Perkins is replacing Joan Airoldi, who retired Jan. 4 from her decade-long position as head of the library system.
Perkins was one of four finalists, narrowed from a list of 39 applicants that came from a nationwide search.
The fact that shes local is really nice, but its definitely not the reason that we selected her, Lambert said. We selected her for her skill set and her management abilities.
Perkins served as director of Burlington Public Library in Skagit County for a little more than five years before working for Bellingham beginning in February 2008.
She began her career as a childrens librarian and worked her way into the position of department head for young adult services at Jackson County Library Services in Medford, Ore., before moving into library administration.
Her experience will be useful as WCLS focuses on early-learning initiatives, officials said.
As assistant director of Bellinghams library, Perkins was in charge of daily operations, opened the Barkley branch through a public/private partnership, and led rebranding and public relations efforts.
As director of Burlington Public Library, she convinced the city council to build a new facility and led a design committee to replace the 4,000-square-foot building with a 22,000-square-foot library. She also established Burlington Library Foundation, which raised more than $100,000 its first year.