Executive director sought for Charleston County libraries

The Charleston County Library System is seeking a new executive director because Doug Henderson, 65, has retired after some six years in the position.

A nationwide search is underway for a new executive director of the Charleston County library system and there is no shortage of applicants.

The starting salary for the position is $115,973 to $151,250, according to the job posting.

Bradbury Associates/Gossage Sager Associates of Kansas City, Mo., will receive applications for the top library staff position through May 29. The firm will winnow the hopefuls to a handful of finalists who will be invited to Charleston for interviews.

“We hope this happens quickly. We would love to have somebody in place by the summertime,” said library board of trustees Chairwoman Janet Segal.

Executive Director Doug Henderson, 65, retired in December after some six years of service. Veteran library staffer Cynthia Bledsoe is the acting executive director until Henderson’s replacement is named. Previously, Henderson was executive director of the Loudoun County, Va., library system.

The draw of Charleston and the opportunity to oversee a $108 million voter-approved library expansion is resulting in no shortage of applicants, officials said.

“They said word was already getting out on the street and people were already calling,” said library spokeswoman Jamie Thomas.

The expansion includes constructing five libraries — two new buildings and three replacement facilities — as well as an administrative center and renovations at 13 existing locations.

“Anybody who comes in and gets this position is going to be in kind of a unique position. She or he is going to be able to ride this thing through to the end and be the hero. Much of the heavy lifting has already been done,” Segal said.

Henderson decided it was time to clear the way for a different director to come in and have their stamp on the new buildings, Thomas said.

“He (Henderson) had gotten us to the point of the referendum,” she said.

Bradbury Associates, which specializes in executive searches for libraries, surveyed local staff, community leaders and focus groups about the future of the library system and what is needed here, Thomas said.

The library system is also advertising for a project manager for its five-year construction and renovation effort. The hiring salary range is $56,056 to $63,107. The project manager will report to the executive director.

The library system has an annual budget of $16 million through a county appropriation and a full-time staff of 221. It has 16 locations that serve more than 389,000 residents.