Meet Sue Woody, Librarian in Chief

Above: Sue Woody becomes executive director of Des Moines’ public library system Monday.

Sue Woody, newly named executive director of the Des Moines Public Library system, is looking forward to a meeting after she takes the reins next week. “I want to meet with our fabulous management team to strategize our goals,” she says enthusiastically.

Her move to the director’s office is just across the hall, but it’s the latest step in a career that has been dedicated to young readers. “Early literacy is a passion of mine,” she says. That was reflected in her early years with Border’s Books and at the Alligator’s Tale, a shop she created for young readers in the late 1990s. In fact, she came to the public library system as a coordinator of children’s programming and later created the library’s Rosie Reader mascot. “Yes, I wore that costume hundreds of times,” she says with a laugh.

In recent years, Woody elevated marketing of the library’s AViD series (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) and created Simple Steps to Success, a program to encourage early reading within families. Woody is sure to push for more library outreach and community engagement. “I’d like to take our outreach to the next level, removing barriers to library access and services,” she says.

And you can expect her to promote the library’s digital offerings. “The city is clamoring for more,” she says, referring to the online virtual library as “our seventh branch.”

Entering her new role at age 55, Woody says her most important public message is simple: “The library is for everyone,” she says, “young, old, rich or poor.” In that regard, a library may be the most democratic of public institutions—and Sue Woody invites you to experience all that it offers.

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