Pierson Library appoints new director

Kevin Unrath, new director of the Pierson Library. Courtesy photo

Kevin Unrath of South Burlington will be the new director of the Pierson Library, library trustees announced Friday. The board began hunting for a new director after Lara Keenan resigned to take a job with the state government. Since May, board member Cathy Townsend has functioned as the interim director.

Unrath was previously the director of the Isley Library in Middlebury. He has a master’s degree in library science from the University of Illinois and has been working in libraries for over 17 years.

“Talking with Pierson Library staff, trustees, volunteers, and friends during the interview process, they all made clear that the library is a much-loved community resource,” Unrath said. “I’m very excited to begin this new phase of my career serving the town of Shelburne as its new library director.”

At Isley, Unrath led a building project that involved community feedback, space design, architects and consultants – much like the process the Pierson Library is going through today.

Shelburne is currently planning a vote in November on a $6.5 million bond to finance a new library, renovations of the historic town hall, and several municipal upgrades. Isley went through a number of such projects under Unrath’s direction, including the addition of a digital media lab, grants for a maker’s space, and significant renovations to improve and expand existing library space.

Unrath said he considers his path to Shelburne a natural progression. He was a colleague of Keenan and is familiar with the process Shelburne is going through. He moved to South Burlington in 2013 and wanted to be closer to home after the birth of his second child.

“The timing and the opportunity were right,” Unrath said.

The search committee, which involved board members, town officials, and residents, reviewed applications and interviewed candidates from across the nation.

“We are delighted to welcome Kevin to the Pierson Library and Shelburne. Kevin is a collaborative director who brings exceptional skills, focus and a community-centered mindset,” wrote board member Barbara Comeau.

Unrath said he is looking forward to getting to know Pierson Library patrons and the Shelburne community in the coming months and years. He starts work Aug. 31, with a short transition period planned with Townsend.

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