On Thursday, the Indianapolis-Marion County Library board chose Jackie Nytes to be CEO of the library system. I was hoping for that result, but I’ve seen enough searches to know that just because she was the ideal candidate and obvious best choice didn’t guarantee anything. (National searches, particularly, always remind me of the old definition of an expert as someone who lives at least 50 miles away.)
I’ll admit that I am anything but unbiased: Jackie is a friend, and she was my husband’s co-worker when he worked for the library system. That said, she brings a collection of knowledge and skills to this new job that seem uniquely tailored to the position. She not only has the appropriate educational credentials, she not only has experience working in libraries, she has experience with this library system. Furthermore, her expertise is financial management; she was IMCPL’s Chief Financial Officer. In an era of shrinking fiscal resources, that ain’t chopped liver, as the saying goes.
Even more fortuitous, in the years since she left the library, Jackie’s political activities have given her a whole new skill set that will serve her well in her new post. As a highly respected City-County Councilor, she made important connections and learned how the city really works (or doesn’t). In a political environment that requires the library to fight for every nickel of public support, political skills and access are incredibly important.
Knowledge and skills are important. Political savvy is important. But most important of all is something that everyone who knows Jackie remarks on at one time or another: she genuinely, passionately loves the library.
It’s nice to see a love affair consummated.
Let me be the first to wish this particular couple a long and successful relationship.