While working on her thesis for her master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Wayne State University in Michigan, Tara Lannen-Stanton discovered a particular interest she had in public libraries.
Coincidentally, WSU offered a Library Science Program, and Lannen-Stanton decided to enroll. It was a choice that would shift Lannen-Stanton’s career path from politics to libraries.
“Going through the process of writing my thesis and researching it, and speaking to a lot of archivists and librarians, made me realize that I wanted to investigate being a librarian,” Lannen-Stanton said.
More than 10 years after discovering her passion for libraries, the Long Beach Public Library’s Board of Trustees welcomed Tara Lannen-Stanton as the library’s new director on Aug. 1.
“We conducted a thorough interview process filled with great candidates, and Tara distinguished herself with the right balance of experience, credentials and passion,” library board Vice President Sam Pinto said. “We look forward to her leadership as we drive the library forward and continue to serve the community.”
Lannen-Stanton, 37,entered the position with a long history of library experience, including 11 years at the Queens Public Library, most recently as its Director of Adult Learning, where she coordinated all aspects of formal learning programs and services for adults. She also held other positions such as Assistant Director of the Job & Business Academy, Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program Coordinator/Outreach Librarian and WorldLinQ Coordinator –– which compiled international websites to make it easier to access for the immigrant community in Queens.
“It was really great,” Lannen-Stanton said. “It was very unique in terms of public libraries and responsibilities.”
As a Queens resident, Lannen-Stanton has had a bit of a change of pace. She now drives about 45 minutes to an hour to work instead of taking the subway, which she said was her biggest adjustment. She added that she is learning and discovering a lot of different aspects of the library, but overall, she said, it’s been a smooth transition.
Lannen-Stanton said being at a smaller library gives her access to many different facets of the library, such as children’s programs. When she was in the Queens Library, she specialized in certain areas like adult learning and now she’s able to expand her knowledge to other areas.
“Now at Long Beach, I’m really able to oversee and supervise all library services,” Lannen-Stanton. “It’s really about the breath rather than the depth.”
As library director, Lannen-Stanton is now in charge of supervising staff, overseeing programs and managing a budget of more than $3.6 million. She oversees three different branches –– Lowenstein main library, Point Lookout branch and the West End branch.
Lannen-Stanton said she had three main priorities: staffing, updating the computer system and updating the library’s policies. She said that addressing staffing will help with security, training and professional development.
She added that she wants to update the library’s computer system and statistic gathering in order to effectively track work and to improve work flows. As for updating polices, Lannen-Stanton said she wants establish and rewrite procedures that employees can better understand in order to train staff more efficiently. Along with that, she said, new polices would help patrons better understand the library’s expectations.
“If everyone knows what the expectations are –– things can move as smoothly as possible and we can really focus on providing services and taking care of patrons,” Lannen-Stanton said.
Lannen- Stanton took over after former Library Director Michael Simon retired in March. She said that she believes that she will bring a “new perspective” to the role.
“What I’d really like to do, as I get to understand and know the community more, is to make sure that all of the programs and services that the library provides are meeting the needs of the diverse residents of Long Beach,” Lannen Stanton said.