Grand Rapids library hires director


John McNaughton. Courtesy Grand Rapids Public Library

The local library system has found a new leader.

The Grand Rapids Public Library, or GRPL, said this spring its Board of Library Commissioners, in collaboration with the search firm Bradbury Miller Associates, voted unanimously to affirm John McNaughton for the role.

McNaughton began his post last month, replacing Marcia Warner, who retired in December.

The search firm and the board’s appointed advisory panel began its search last summer, which proved to be unsuccessful.

The panel resumed its search in January.

"The board is confident that John will build upon the great work of Marcia Warner, including easy access to information, superior customer service and a deep commitment to serving all the residents of Grand Rapids," said James Botts, president, GRPL Board of Library Commissioners.

McNaughton has 17 years of experience.

Most recently, he served as director of the Romeo District Library in southeast Michigan. While there, he helped to create a Teen Services department, re-design the lobby to improve customer services, create new areas for small group studies and developed a new strategic plan.

Previously, McNaughton started out his career as a circulation clerk in Plano, Texas. He then became a reference librarian, before accepting the director position at the Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

He is a member of the American Library Association. Throughout his professional career he has worked with various boards, employees, unions, patron and donors.

McNaughton has partnered with donors to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for building improvements to the Ishpeming Carnegie Library to improve accessibility and ADA compliance.

He holds a master of library and information science from Wayne State University and a B.F.A. in English from Northern Michigan University.

"I am looking forward to working closely with the board and the team to bring the best services possible to the residents of Grand Rapids," McNaughton said. "As someone who is fiercely committed to the idea that libraries can be a driver for social change by providing places and services to advance equity, literacy and community engagement, I am excited to build on the strong foundation the Grand Rapids Public Library has already put in place."

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