Fort Vancouver library trustees hire new executive director

Board considered three finalists to replace Bruce Ziegman

By Tom Vogt, Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter



Fort Vancouver’s library trustees have approved the hiring of Nancy Tessman as their new executive director.

The contract designates July 16 as Tessman’s first day on the job. The former Salt Lake City library director succeeds Bruce Ziegman, who retired in October.

“I consider myself very fortunate, after a bit of a break, to have the chance to work at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District,” Tessman said by phone after the board’s 7-0 vote Monday afternoon.

Tessman said she decided to take a sabbatical in 2007 when her career hit the 30-year mark, and now will resume her career in Southwest Washington.

The announcement came a week after the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District board told Chairman Bill Yee to open contract negotiations with Tessman.

Tessman’s salary will be $135,000. The basis for negotiations was the salary Ziegman would have made if he’d remained in the job, Yee said. It’s a one-year contract, which Yee said is typical for similar library districts in Washington.

Trustees Brian Carrico, Bonnie Reynolds and Todd Yuzuriha will put together a list of goals for Tessman to tackle during her first six months on the job. The library system opened three branches during Ziegman’s tenure, including its flagship library in downtown Vancouver.

So Tessman’s leadership skills will be applied to something other than a major expansion.

It won’t be a new experience, she said.

“I’ve been in a situation where a new central library has been built, and it’s very exciting, an incredible asset to Vancouver,” Tessman said. “But it’s also a good time to take a look around the entire district, at what other facilities might need some upgrading.”

It’s a district of more than 4,200 square miles. The system has 13 community libraries, and Tessman visited 12 of them when she came to Southwest Washington earlier this month for her job interview.

“I visited all of them but Goldendale,” she said.

“It’s quite a stretch, but there is a diversity of need. It’s important to take the time to understand very diverse communities,” Tessman said. “I hope to spend a lot of time getting a sense of the individual communities, and the ways in which the library can best serve those patrons.”

The other two finalists were Nicolle Davies, deputy director of the Arapahoe Library District in Englewood, Colo., and Jody Risacher, director of the Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center in Fayetteville, N.C. The opening drew 21 applicants.

The deal includes $10,000 for moving expenses, Yee said.

As executive director, Tessman will manage a system with an annual budget of about $24 million and about 200 employees.

Operations Director Patty Duitman has been interim executive director since Ziegman’s retirement.

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