Tess Mayer appointed Director of Library Services

Tess Mayer, New Director of Berkeley Public Library
Tess Mayer, New Director of Berkeley Public Library

Berkeley, California (August 12, 2020) - The Berkeley Public Library Board of Library Trustees (BOLT) is pleased to announce the appointment of Tess Mayer as its next Director of Library Services. Ms. Mayer will begin her tenure Monday, September 21.

John Selawsky, BOLT President stated, “We are pleased to announce Tess Mayer as our new Director of Library Services. She brings a wealth of professional experience and expertise, but just as important brings a commitment to community engagement, union and staff involvement, and equity. I want to thank our staff and our unions, as well as my colleagues on BOLT, for their commitment to excellence and service.”

Ms. Mayer was selected from a strong pool of more than 60 candidates and vetted through a vigorous recruitment process with three levels of panel interviews including with community members, subject matter experts and union members. Since February 2015, Ms. Mayer has served as the Director, Library Outreach, Programs, and Services for the King County Library System in Washington. Prior to her King County service, Ms. Mayer spent 10 years with the Seattle Public Library where she progressed from a Senior Librarian role to Downtown Regional Manager for the City’s Central Library. She holds a Master’s in Library Information Services from the University of Washington and a B.A. in American and Multi-ethnic studies from Bard College.

Ms. Mayer said of her appointment, “I am honored to serve the Berkeley community in this role, and very excited to begin working with the staff, the Board, and the public.  This is a fantastic library system, and I am looking forward to collaborating on providing the most responsive services that we can.”

Of Mayer’s choice, Berkeley Vice Mayor and BOLT Trustee Sophie Hahn said, “I am excited to be welcoming a new permanent Library Director, after an exhaustive search. Tess Mayer comes to us from another progressive Library System with the vision, experience and inclusive management skills necessary to ensure our patrons, staff and libraries all thrive. I want to thank Acting Library Director Elliot Warren for his skillful leadership these past few years, in particular during the current COVID-19 crisis, and thank all staff for the work they do every day to make our libraries the best that they can be.”

"The Board of Library Trustees deliberately took a long time hiring this Library Director...making sure we agreed on leadership qualities we were looking for, that we had good community input, and that we were fully prepared to deliberate intelligently,” noted BOLT Trustee Diane Davenport. Trustee Davenport is enthusiastic about Ms. Mayer’s ability "to be a communication specialist...for staff, community, press, and stakeholders."

BOLT Member Judy Hunt lauded Ms. Mayer’s, “experience with unhoused, immigrant, student, LGBTQ+ and communities of color that demonstrates her commitment to equity and inclusion. She will bring an exemplary capacity to offer a fresh perspective, an emphasis on continuous organizational improvement, creative innovations, and the ability to listen and respond with care and authenticity to a wide range of stakeholders. I welcome Tess Meyer's transformative library and community leadership."

BOLT Vice President Amy Roth echoed the sentiments of her colleagues. "I am thrilled that Tess Mayer was chosen as the new Executive Director of the Berkeley Public Library. Tess was the unanimous choice of the Board of Library Trustees, emerging from a very talented field of candidates. We look forward to her arrival, and to helping her to achieve success in making BPL be the best that it can be.”

For more information and updates on Library collections, programs and services please visit www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org.