I’m Ross Holt, and I am the assistant director of the Randolph County Public Library. Our library serves 140,000-plus people in Randolph and surrounding counties through seven sites, including the headquarters in Asheboro. We serve a population of increasing diversity, including significant numbers of Latino immigrants. We also make a special effort to create a welcoming environment for teens.
I worked summers during college at the Asheboro library, doing a little bit of everything. Following a short stint after college as a reporter, I returned to the library as a volunteer, which led to a temporary position, which led to a full time position. By the time I entered the MLIS program at UNCG in 1992, I was a member of the Reference staff. I enjoyed work at the library, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to make it a career (I still moonlighted for a local weekly newspaper as a reporter) until a new director, Richard Wells, took over and showed me what the library could be and what librarians could do.
As assistant director, I’m head of the Reference Department and systems administrator (although the day-to-day duty is mostly delegated to our MIS specialist). I’m responsible for the library system in the absence of the director. I’m also heavily involved in setting policy for the library. One of the de facto roles I have taken on is marketing of and publicity for library services and programs: you have to reach people where they are and we try to use every tool available, from traditional news releases to Twitter. I’m also continually on the prowl for ideas, products and services that enhance public service or make the library easier for people to use – I’m very proud that we were the seventh library in the country, the first library in North Carolina and the first Horizon library to implement LibraryThing for Libraries, the in-catalog reader’s advisory service that harnesses the combined wisdom of LibraryThing.com’s hundred of thousands of members and relates it directly to books in the library’s collection.
I served as president of the North Carolina Library Association from 2001-2003. It was somewhat intense but very rewarding. I hope that we made NCLA engaging and relevant to the library community, and raised the profile of NCLA as the statewide voice for the library community. We worked closely with the North Carolina Public Library Directors Association on state-level advocacy, and increased state funding for public libraries and for NC LIVE.
I will be happy to answer any and all questions, and if I don’t know the answers, I probably know where to look them up!