Darien Library names new director
The Board of Trustees of the Friends of Darien Library has appointed Kiera Parrott, MLIS, as the next director of Darien Library, effective Sept. 8.
Parrott, who was selected by the board after a nationwide search, succeeds Alan Kirk Gray who recently retired after six years as director and 11 years in various other roles.
Before Gray, Louise Berry held the position of director for 35 years before retiring in 2014. This makes Parrott only the third person to hold the position of director in the past four decades.
Over this time, Darien Library has earned an international reputation for many of its operations and services and is a recognized national leader known for its excellence in customer service. It was named a Library Journal Five Star Library in January of this year, a distinction shared by only one other library in the State of Connecticut.
“The Board of Trustees was seeking a visionary leader ready to reimagine the library’s role consistent with its culture of excellence in service to its patrons and the Darien community, and we are thrilled to have found this leader in Kiera,” said Tamara Sload, president of the Board. “She is an inspirational and gifted leader, understands and values the importance of excellent communication and respectful relationship building, and brings a unique and compelling perspective to strategic planning that we believe make her uniquely suited to assume this role. We are excited to welcome her back to Darien Library.”
Parrott worked at Darien Library from 2008-13, as a children’s librarian and collection development coordinator and subsequently as head of children’s services. During this time, Parrott launched the T.E.A. (Technology, engineering, arts) Room makerspace and expanded KidLibCamp, an annual professional development conference for youth services librarians from across the tri-state area.
“Watching the tireless efforts of the Darien Library staff and administration over the past few months makes me both humbled and proud to be rejoining this remarkable institution,” said Parrott.
“From offering creative, socially-distanced express services like curbside pick-up and an array of virtual programming, to quickly creating charging stations and workspaces throughout the courtyard during the recent power outages, the Darien Library never fails to show up for the community, especially in times of crisis. It is that dedication to and passion for public service that first attracted me to Darien Library, and it is that ethos that drew me back once again,” Parrott said.
Board member Susan Vogel highlighted the search committee’s confidence that Parrott will readily transform big ideas into strategic results — driven initiatives; recruit, develop, and motivate an outstanding staff; promote inclusion and diversity; and effectively communicate the library’s mission, goals, and objectives to the broader Darien community.
These capabilities are even more important, given the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. On that topic, Parrott said, “while 2020 continues to be a uniquely challenging time for all of us, I am elated and eager to step into this new role, in a world-class library, staffed by the best librarians I know, in a community that loves and supports its library like none other.”
Since 2015, Parrott has been reviews and production director at Library Journal and School Library Journal (Mediasource, Inc.), and from 2013 to 2015, editor, reviews, School Library Journal.
She is creator and lead facilitator for LJ/SLJ Diversity Workshops and has helped launch and expand numerous live and virtual events for librarians nationwide, including the Public Library Think Tank, LibraryConLive!, Day of Dialog, and Equity in Action.
Parrott’s work focuses on changing institutional culture and increasing job satisfaction through coaching and staff development. Prior to joining Darien Library, Parrott worked at the New York Public Library.
Parrott received her MLIS from Queens College and her bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.