With the Aug. 22 announcement that Scott Duimstra, executive director of Capital Area District Libraries, or CADL, was named the next director of the Hennepin County Library system in Minnesota, CADL is now looking to replace him through either an in-house promotion or a search process. Duimstra will begin his new job in October.
For Duimstra, who has been the executive director of CADL since 2017, this is a major move. Hennepin County Library has 41 branches in Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs, while CADL has only 13 branches in Lansing and rural Ingham County. Hennepin County Library has more than 600 employees, compared to CADL’s 215 employees, and it has a budget of $65 million, roughly three times that of CADL.
During his tenure at CADL, Duimstra served as senior associate director before rising to lead the organization. He is only the fourth director since the Ingham County library system was reorganized 25 years ago.
“I saw how rewarding being a librarian was when I began working as a page at the Grand Rapids Public Library while in high school,” Duimstra said. He then received an undergraduate degree from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Michigan School of Information.
Among his major accomplishments at CADL, Duimstra prides himself on passing two millages, establishing the Student Success Initiative and leading the system through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There was no guidebook for libraries on how to weather the pandemic, and everything was constantly changing,” he said. “We knew it was important to not close libraries while protecting patrons and staff, and we were able to pivot quickly and stay relevant through the pandemic.”
He said CADL usage is back to pre-pandemic levels.
Duimstra said he’s also proud of the work he accomplished as president of the Michigan Library Association’s Board of Directors, a role he was elected to in 2022. His appointment came at the same time as a movement in numerous states and local libraries to ban books.
“MLA has been a leader in preserving the right to read and in creating an awareness of the importance of the First Amendment,” he said.
Despite the size differential between the two library systems, Duimstra said CADL and Hennepin County Library have similar histories. Both emerged from a merger combining numerous smaller libraries into one system.
According to a longtime local librarian, the naming of Duimstra to lead HCL is a big deal since it’s one of the most respected library systems in the country. City Pulse reached out to a CADL trustee by email to learn more about the hiring process but has not heard back.
CADL is governed by a seven-member board, appointed by Ingham County and the city of Lansing, with four residents from Lansing or Lansing Township, one from Meridian Township and two from other areas of the county.
“At last!” That’s how acclaimed Michigan author Karen Dionne began her recent Facebook post about the release of the trailer for “The Marsh King’s Daughter,” based on her book of the same name. The movie, set to hit theaters Oct. 6, stars Daisy Ridley as Helena, a young mother who must use her outback skills to track and kill her father, who is hell-bent on killing her family. The psycho-thriller was in filmmaker limbo for a couple of years due to COVID and the machinations of the film industry.
Dionne’s novel is set in the Upper Peninsula, but the movie was shot in the Canadian wilderness. Those who attended the Michigan Notable Book Award ceremony this year were treated to an advanced screening of the trailer, which is now available on YouTube. The backdrop scenery is extraordinary, and the terror is palpable.
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