After 16 years of service to the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library, Director Jean Berg has announced plans to retire in September.
This past week library board members reluctantly accepted Berg's resignation and announced plans to begin the search for a new library director immediately.
"Jean has done an outstanding job for our library," said Ann Hall, president of the library board. "We hate to see her go, but we do understand. We always said we had found a jewel in our own backyard.
"Under her leadership, we built three new libraries, we've automated our system, our collection is in good shape and we're financially strong as well," Hall added.
Berg said her job as director of the two-county consolidated library system has "been close to her heart" stemming from a love for libraries that began with weekly trips to the Mt. Vernon Library to load up on books. Berg's decision to become a librarian was influenced by the fact that her mother worked at the Mt. Vernon branch for many years.
Berg graduated from the University of Missouri School of Library Science. After graduation, she worked as a children's librarian at the St. Louis Public Library and as a reference librarian at the Missouri State Library.
Berg's career then took her to the east coast where she served as head librarian at Richards Library in Newport, N.H., assistant librarian at the Kenne (N.H.) Public Library and head librarian at Claremont (N.H.) Public Library.
In 1991, Berg and her husband, Gunnar, moved back to Missouri. Berg accepted the position as director of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library system in 1995.
In addition to the construction of libraries in Cassville, Pierce City and Marionville, Berg's tenure also included the addition of public internet computers in all 10 branches, a fully automated library system and database and expansion of a large number of programs and services.
"There have been many challenges and much has been accomplished with the help of very capable regional office and branch personnel," said Berg.
According to Hall, the search committee appointed to fill Berg's position met last week and the process of seeking qualified candidates for the post has begun. Search committee members include Hall, Charles Peiter, Donna Cheek and Julie Vaughn.