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Local News

Q&A: Get to know the new Westmont Public Library director

WESTMONT – After taking over as interim director of the Westmont Public Library in October, the board of trustees appointed longtime employee Julia Coen to the position April 29.

Coen recently spoke with Westmont Suburban Life editor Alex Soulier to talk about the transition to library director, her goals and expectations and all the amenities the library offers its patrons.

Soulier: How has it been adjusting to your new role?

Coen: The transition has been wonderful. I have been acting as director since the end of October, so I have taken everything in stride. The transition wasn't too difficult – the staff, trustees, and community have all been great.

Soulier: What is the managerial philosophy that you would like to implement as the new library director?

Coen: As far as managing staff, I strongly believe in an open door policy – I think communication is key to being a successful manager. I lead by example, and I don't set expectations that I don't hold myself to. We work as a team and I want to build a team first culture.

Soulier: How would you describe your leadership style?

Coen: I believe in setting a good expample and not micro managing. My job is to motivate, keep staff energized, inspire others, and hopefully they learn from me and can translate that into their job. But I learn from them, too; they are experts in their field and they teach me a lot.

Soulier: Have you set any goal for the coming year?

Coen: We have pretty ambitious goals in front of us. We are looking at installing self-checkout unit, beginning a main floor redesign, and we want to improve technology – increasing both patron and staff access to technology. I want to improve digital literacy and give patrons the access and knowledge to fully utilize that. Behind the scenes, we are working on omore training and a lot of team building.

Soulier: Is there a service or program that the library offers that you think residents might overlook or not know about?

Coen: I think some of our digital services are maybe overlooked. In fact, we just launched our digital branch. It is pretty amazing and gives you more access to all of our content, all in a user friendly way. There are so many services – audio books, movies, e-books, music – and it is now readily available online.

Soulier: What is your favorite section or feature at the Westment Public Library?

Coen: I love our reading garden – our early reader/literacy department upstairs. My nieces and nephews come there all the time and I love hanging out with them up there. It is tough not to smile and have a good time when you are in there.

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