The new director of the Lawrence Public Library will use technological expertise to make the system computer friendly.
A state library official and Lawrence resident today beat out three other finalists to become director of the Lawrence Public Library.
Bruce Flanders, 40, has been director of technology for the Kansas State Library in the statehouse since 1983. He will start his new job in January.
The lifelong Lawrence resident is familiar with the local library at 707 Vt.
"I used the Lawrence Public Library throughout my life. My children use the library now," said Flanders, who worked there in high school and college.
Flanders was offered the job by the library's board of trustees, which reviewed four finalists chosen from a field of 35 applicants.
The search for a new director became necessary when Wayne Mayo, who headed the library for 31 years, died in May. Cecilia May served as acting director.
Elaine VanDeventer, president of the board of trustees, said Flanders had a solid background in general library work. He also provides the leadership the library needs to complete its computer catalog and circulation system improvements, she said.
"It's a process that has already begun," Flanders said. "I certainly treat that as a high priority."
He said the feasibility of developing a community information network should be investigated. A computer network would be created in collaboration with libraries, government agencies and other entities, he said.
"The possibilities are exciting for that," he said.
He said the library should reach out to underserved people in the community. For example, he said, preschool children don't effectively use public libraries.
Flanders worked for the past 14 years at the state library in Topeka. It provides consulting services and technical support for libraries throughout the state. It also serves as a reference library for state legislators and the public.
Flanders received a KU degree in 1977. He received a master's degree in library science in 1978 from University of Illinois.
Other finalists were Claire Bausch, Abilene, Tex., public library director; Mary Baykan, Palm Beach, Fla., library administrator; Cynthia Berner, coordinator of extension services for Wichita's public library.