The Faulkner-Van Buren Library System director spot that has been vacant for about 10 months has been filled by Tina Murdock, formerly manager of Dallas Public Library’s Fine Arts and Humanities Divisions.
Murdock, whose employment began Dec. 1, succeeds Ruth Voss, who retired at the end of 2012 after 32 years as director of the two-county system.
The library system will hold a welcoming reception in Murdock’s honor Thursday from 4-6 p.m. at Conway’s branch, 1900 Tyler Street.
Murdock heads eight libraries in the director’s position, with branches in Conway, Greenbrier, Mayflower, Mount Vernon, Twin Groves, Vilonia, Clinton and Damascus.
She was selected as director by a committee of library board members and representatives of the Friends of the Library, according to Rhonda Davis, regional board chairwoman.
Arkansas isn’t new to Murdock, who has family in the Pine Bluff area.
She says Arkansas is another home to her, having spent most of her childhood and early career in the state.
Before becoming a "full-time librarian," Murdock taught English and music at college levels in Kentucky and Louisiana, and has taught the subjects at each grade level from kindergarten to 12th.
She holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Louisiana State University and a postgraduate Master of Arts in English from the University of Kentucky, as well as a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Murdock said it is early to declare a "vision" for the Faulkner and Van Buren library system, but technology will be part of it.
"As with every library in the country, technology is a major challenge," she said. "There are so many resources, but we have to see what’s valuable and what isn’t and also what our patrons need."
Murdock said libraries exist to make education available to everyone in the country, and she wants to make sure that’s the priority in programming and the future.
"This library has been doing things well for a long time. I want to build on what’s already going on here and take us into the next generation of libraries while keeping up with the needs of our patrons in both counties," she said. "I understand this is a rapidly growing area."
Murdock explained libraries are in an era of change, with technology always leading.
"But people are beginning to rely on libraries for more things than they used to. We used to think of libraries as a place for books, but we provide meeting space, educational programs, internet access, and other kinds of information tools. We do especially in communities where Internet access isn’t always available. There’s a wide variety of needs now," she said.
Libraries are offering digital media with ebooks, video and music that may never be published in the physical sense.
Murdock said she is dedicated to ensuring that digital publications and other media not being published in the traditional format become available to library patrons.
"There are books you can’t even buy in print. There’s music that doesn’t come out on a CD," she said. "Libraries around the country are working with content creators to find a way to provide that access in ways that don’t violate the creators’ rights, but still make it available to the general public. We want to make sure all our population has access to these new materials, not only those who can afford to buy it for themselves."
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)