Palo Alto resident Ned Himmel will serve as the city's interim library department director until a replacement for retiring Director Diane Jennings is hired, City Manager James Keene announced Thursday.
Himmel, who retired from the San Jose Public Library in August 2009 and has been working part-time for that library system since, will start his new job Nov. 8. He'll receive $80 an hour during his tenure, which is expected to last up to six months, the city stated in a press release.
"Ned is the perfect person to serve in the interim capacity for the next few months. He has extensive public library management experience in the Bay Area and recently has been supporting San Jose's library construction bond program," Jennings stated. "As a long-time resident and user of the Palo Alto City Library, he understands our community and library system."
Since October 2009, Himmel has been overseeing the design, construction and opening of five new branch libraries in San Jose. He worked as assistant library director in San Jose from 2001 to 2009. Prior to that, he was chief of the Main San Francisco Library. He has a masters degree in library science from U.C. Berkeley.
"I am delighted to be able to serve as interim director. The community, the Library Friends, and the Library Foundation have spoken out loudly in favor of a renaissance for our public library," Himmel said in the press release. "As a community resident for over 30 years and a public librarian for 35, I am excited to be able to be a part of planning new buildings and continuing the standard of excellent public service Diane and the library staff provide."
Executive search firm Peckham and McKenney has been retained by the city to conduct a national recruitment for a new library director. Keene plans to meet with the Library Advisory Commission, Library Foundation, Friends of the Library and Library Department staff in the design of the profile and outreach plan for the next director.
Jennings retires on Nov. 5 after 24 years with the city.