Lemke Selected to Lead Rochester Public Library – Post Bulletin
ROCHESTER — The Rochester Library Board made its recommendation for the city’s new library manager on Wednesday.
The board has named Karen Lemke, the library’s marketing and community engagement manager, as its choice to lead the library following the retirement of Audrey Betcher on March 4.
“I think Karen knows that if she gets the job, she’s got some really big shoes to fill,” library board chair Antinea Ascione said of the replacement for Betcher, who served the library for over 25 years.
Ascione also said that Lemke would be an “excellent, excellent steward of the library in the future”.
“I am humbled and honored to be selected as the next library manager at the Rochester Public Library,” Lemke said in a statement after the official selection. “The library has a long history of innovation in achieving community goals and a strong, community-driven strategic plan. Most importantly, RPL has a kind and caring team that is dedicated to doing impactful work in Rochester.
Lemke was nominated from among four candidates reviewed by a selection committee, which included library board members Adam Meyers and Erin Pagel, as well as city administrator Alison Zelms, director of parks and recreation Paul Widman and Linda Hillenbrand, the city’s director of human resources.
“Karen brings to this position a strong background in both internal and external library leadership, with a strong and dynamic commitment to RPL and the Rochester community,” Meyers said. “She is a dynamic and collaborative leader who will continue to make the library a welcoming place where all can connect and learn.”
Hillenbrand said the process began with staff reviewing nine applications, with the group narrowed down to three internal applicants and one from outside current library staff.
“We had four outstanding candidates,” she said.
The next step will be for Zelms and Hillenbrand to negotiate a contract with Lemke, which should include a start date of February 24 to allow for an overlap for Betcher and Lemke.
Lemke joined the library staff in 2015 in a role that oversees the library’s annual marketing plan, manages public relations and develops relationships with community partners.
Prior to joining the city, she was director of public relations and programs for the Pine River Library in Bayfield, Colorado, and served as news director for a group of radio stations in Durango, Colorado.