Library director named

Doug Henderson, a library director from Virginia, has been hired as director of the Charleston County Public Library.

A Virginia library director has been hired to lead the Charleston County Public Library.

The library's board of trustees announced Thursday that Doug Henderson, director of the Loudoun County library system, has been hired to take the job that acting director Cynthia Bledsoe has done for the past couple of years.

"This has been a lengthy process because the library's board of trustees was committed to finding the best person to lead (the library) into the future," said LoElla Smalls, who led the board's search committee. "He has an exceptional background as a library director and leader."

Henderson, who has worked in libraries in Las Vegas and Tampa, Fla., led Loudoun County's library system to a top 10 ranking by the Hennen American Public Library Index.

Henderson said he will focus on the library's collection, efficiencies and -- closest to his heart -- pre-literacy programs. He hopes to partner with Charleston County public schools to make the library integral to literacy learning.

"The library is one of the few institutions that gets people from birth to

death," Henderson said, "and I want to get them from birth to death."

Henderson said he and his wife are excited to move to Charleston and already have a contract on a Johns Island house. On previous visits to town, he checked out the local libraries and came away impressed.

"The libraries are well-rounded, the staff is enthusiastic and the public is supportive," he said.

Library Board Chairman Jeanne T. Holladay said Henderson had impressed them with his skills at drawing donations and community support in Virginia.

"We hope to see the same thing happen here. In tough economic times when government funds are being cut, it is more important than ever to cultivate partnerships and develop private donors who will support the library," Holladay said.

The board also named Bledsoe deputy director. She has been with the Charleston County Library 11 years and has 34 years' experience in libraries.

"Her dedication is apparent in the library's achievements in the past two years," Holladay said. "Because of her and the excellent staff in all our branches, (the library) was rated as one of the best public libraries in the nation by Library Journal magazine, a recognition that came when the library faced extensive budget cuts and a double-digit increase in the demand for library services."

Henderson takes over the executive director position Aug. 9.