The new Lake County Library Services Director is Tom Merchant, who served the last five years as assistant director for public services. He succeeds Wendy Breeden, who recently was promoted to direct the county’s new Public Resources Department. As director, Merchant heads the 15-library Lake County Library System, consisting of 9 municipal libraries and 6 county branch libraries. The system supports the work of all 15 libraries by providing common services, such as one integrated library automation system and technical support for that system, a daily courier service among the libraries, online databases for all of the libraries, and consultant services in programming, youth services and literacy.
“I just hope to build on Wendy’s many accomplishments,” said Merchant, noting that “she built the system from scratch, including all 6 of the branch libraries. We’ll work to offer the public the best customer experience that we can, in spite of the current economy. We’ll focus on the core values of libraries, constantly looking for better, more efficient ways to provide our services. My role is to support and empower all of the library employees in their efforts to serve the public.”
“I bring length and variety of experience to the position,” Merchant added. For almost 35 years, he has been involved in librarianship. Prior to coming to Lake County, he was director of a historical society library and museum, head of public services at a college library, director of a public library and a consultant for a library automation company. His career has taken him from New Jersey to Illinois to Wisconsin to Nebraska to Florida. He has bachelors and masters degrees in theatre, as well as a Masters in Library Science.