Marian Amodeo, who has worked at the Newington library for 33 years, has been hired to run the day-to-day operations of the Hartford Public Library system.
Amodeo, whose title will be chief public services officer, will essentially be the head librarian of Hartford's downtown library and its nine branches, the largest public library in the state. She will join a new executive team led by Chief Operating Officer Matthew K. Poland, who last year became the first non-librarian to lead the institution.
Poland has extensive business experience and has been charged by the library's board of directors with finding new sources of revenue. He has brought on people to oversee finance, development and technology, with Amodeo completing the management team.
Poland said that Amodeo will be responsible for managing 90 percent of the library's staff and budget. She was hired after a national search that culminated with 22 people being interviewed.
"We're fortunate to have found right in our backyard someone who we feel will be a very important leader for us," Poland said.
Amodeo started working at the Lucy Robbins Welles Library in Newington in 1977 as a library assistant. After serving as head of children's services and assistant director, she was named director in 1998. In 2006, she served as Newington's interim town manager, experience that Poland saw as an asset.
"It was an indication of her strong financial discipline," he said.
Amodeo said she was especially proud that during her tenure in Newington, she was part of efforts to bring more technology to the library and to expand children's services.
"That to me remains a hallmark of library services," she said. "I helped to raise two generations of Newington children."
Newington Mayor Jeff Wright said Amodeo's departure is a loss for the town.
"She's always brought enthusiasm, vision and leadership to the library," Wright said.
Her last day in Newington is Friday and her first day in Hartford is July 6. She said that her first priority will be getting to know the library and its staff.
"I'm a hands-on person," she said. "I want to get in there with everybody and learn everything."
Poland said that among Amodeo's long-term goals are reducing Hartford's high adult illiteracy rate and working with the public schools to provide services for young people.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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