Polk explains process and introduces new library director

Published 9:01 pm Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Feb. 17 and introduced new library director Rishara Finsel, who began her new position on Feb. 3.

Polk County Library Board of Trust Chair Barie Baker introduced Finsel, saying the hiring process was long and several county employees helped in the process. The county received approximately 20 applications, she said, with the minimum requirement being a master’s degree in library science from a college accredited by the American Library Association, which eliminated a few applicants.

Baker said she and interim county manager Marche Pittman reviewed the applications, then identified and selected the top candidates.

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“One happened to be living in Montana,” Baker said, speaking of Finsel.

Candidates ranged from living in eastern North Carolina, Florida, Montana and locally, she said. The county interviewed all top candidates looking particularly at each candidate’s experience in budgeting, supervision, working with town or city boards and fundraising, Baker said. She said each candidate paid their own expense for coming to Polk County for interviews and the Friends of the Polk County Library paid for lunch with each candidate.

Baker also said after two-hour interviews with each candidate, she and Pittman took the candidates on a tour of the county, since Polk is not competitive in salary.

“We had to compete on the glory of this part of the country,” Baker said.

Baker read part of Finsel’s cover letter and said she was particularly excited when Finsel said that her first experience with libraries was in Broad River when her family used to visit the bookmobile and never missed it.

“I decided I wanted to be a librarian while volunteering at the Edneyville branch of the Henderson County Public Library,” Finsel said in her cover letter. “That was when I discovered that I didn’t just like visiting libraries; I loved making them work.”

Finsel grew up in Bat Cave, N.C. and since 2008 was the senior librarian for public services for the Flathead County Library System in Montana.

She told commissioners she is very happy to be back home and getting to know Polk County specifically.

“I look forward to an exciting future here,” Finsel said.