City of Homer hires new library director

The City of Homer has hired David Berry to be the new Homer Public Library Director, the city announced in a press release last Friday. Berry replaces the current director, Ann Dixon, who will retire on April 30.

A reception will be held noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, to wish Dixon well and to welcome Berry. He starts April 22 as part of the transition to his new job.

“I’m pleased we’ll have time to work together for a smooth transition,” Dixon said. “There are lots of details involved in running a library. I’ve been writing notes for months, but personal communication will be super helpful.”

Berry is now in the process of moving to Homer from Anchorage, where he was worked the past three years and has been completing a degree in art with a minor in Spanish from the University of Alaska Anchorage. The son of a diplomat, in the press release Berry said he considers Virginia to be where grew up. Berry worked as a librarian at the Kern County Library in Bakersfield, California, and as the Director of Taft College Library in Taft, California. He was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary for seven years, holds a black belt in tae kwon do, and loves to read. A city hiring committee that included Dixon, city staff and members of the Library Advisory Board and the Friends of the Homer Library interviewed applicants. They chose Berry from a field of 12 and three finalists.

“David will be a great fit for Homer as he has a clearly demonstrated passion for libraries, learning and community that will help the library continue to thrive and respond creatively to the needs of our community,” City Manager Katie Koester said in the press release.

Dixon served as director for almost eight years, starting on May 30, 2011, when she succeeded Helen Hill.

“Under Ann’s leadership and commitment to excellence, the Homer Public Library has grown into the vibrant community center it is today,” Koester said in the press release. “I wish her the best on her next adventure and thank her for eight years of service to the people of Homer.”

Dixon said she plans to remain in Homer. A writer, Dixon moved to Homer from Willow with her late husband, Walter Pudwill, who died in 2016. She said in a phone interview on Tuesday she plans to do “more reading and probably do some more writing, more gardening, and enjoy this summer, the great Alaskan summer.” Dixon will continue to help the library as a volunteer, such as working in its Bookmobile.

“When fall and winter come, I’ll be ready to settle down for some serious volunteering or writing,” she said.

Over her almost eight years as director, Dixon said she has seen both small and big changes.

“The library when I started was pretty new still,” she said. “My main focus has been improving the collection, because it was old and kind of not in shape.”

A lot of little changes involved updating procedures and making management decisions, she said.

“We’re always doing something, adjusting, trying something new,” Dixon said. “I guess the big change has been more access to electronic materials.”

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