Sequim Gazette staff
Barnes informed the Library’s Board of Trustees of her plans several months ago and notified the library staff in an e-mail on Jan. 16.
“My experience here has been a highlight of my career,” Barnes wrote to the board in her e-mail. “NOLS has a long history of great library service and it’s been exhilarating to be here during a time of major growth and transition.”
She noted that, after what will be seven years with NOLS, “this seems like a good time to start a new chapter in my own life.”
Barnes and her husband plan to remain in Sequim.
The board is working now on the process for hiring Barnes’ replacement and they hope to make an appointment by July, according to Don Zanon, chairman of the library’s board of trustees.
Barnes was hired as library director in July 2007. She and her husband Aaron moved to Sequim in 2006 from San Francisco’s Bay Area, where she had been director of the Palo Alto City Library.
“Paula has done important work for NOLS,” Zanon said in a press release last week. “Her organizational skills helped bring the board and staff together to write a business plan that gave focus to the development of the library. She created an atmosphere that encouraged staff to create new programs for the community and expand the library’s partnerships with community groups.”
Zanon noted that one of the key areas of growth under Barnes has been the expansion of the library system’s technology footprint. North Olympic libraries now offer e-books, downloadable audio books and e-readers to library patrons, as well as increased access to online resources such as the Microsoft IT Academy.
With support from the Friends of the Library groups in each community, NOLS libraries also have expanded youth programs, and in response to community needs during the economic downturn, libraries have offered job-search resources and workshops for those looking for work.
In addition, the libraries have built stronger partnerships with local schools, as well as with local tribal libraries, and all of the branches have created space and time for art and music presentations.
Changes also have occurred in the library facilities themselves, with an expansion and remodeling of the Clallam Bay Library, and renovations in Port Angeles, Sequim and, most recently, Forks.