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Longtime Marion County library director to lead Kanawha system

Erika Connelly, who directed the Marion County Public Library System for 16 years, will begin leading Kanawha County’s system next month, the Kanawha system announced Wednesday.

Connelly was the Kanawha system board’s choice during a closed session last month, board Vice President Ben Thomas said.

When the board emerged from behind closed doors, it authorized making an offer to a candidate, but didn’t reveal their identity.

“As a West Virginian, I’m passionate about cultivating quality educational and informational library experiences to showcase libraries as learning hubs of every community,” Connelly said in the announcement news release.

“I believe the public library is a fundamental, essential organization in the vital economic and planning development of Kanawha County and beyond,” she said.

She’ll make $115,000 annually, according to Thomas and fellow board member Jennifer Pauer. Thomas and Pauer said Connelly was the board’s first choice.

The previous Kanawha director, Riti Grover, made $130,000. She resigned after about a year in the position.

Preceding Grover was Alan Engelbert, who retired after 11 years in the position.

Board President Monika Jaensson said in the release, “We are ecstatic that Erika has agreed to join KCPL as its next director. Throughout her career, she has been a tireless advocate for library outreach and has a proven track record as a community leader.”

Thomas said, “I’m really excited about her, I think she has a tremendous dynamism about her personality, she has real experience in delivering high-quality customer service to library patrons in her current position, she focuses on technology.

“She’s got an aptitude and an interest in driving library service forward with an emphasis on increased technological capacity and ease of use.”

Reach Ryan Quinn at

ryan.quinn@wvgazettemail.com, facebook.com/ryanedwinquinn, 304-348-1254 or follow

@RyanEQuinn on Twitter.

Funerals for Saturday, march 28, 2020

Adkins, Eugene - 1 p.m., New Bethel Baptist Church, Spurlockville.

Bee, Charles - 11 a.m., First Baptist Church, Parkersburg.

Blaylock Sr., Robert - 11 a.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Dingess, Cheyenne - 11 a.m., Highland Memory Gardens, Godby.

Lee, William - 1 p.m., Liberty Missionary Baptist Church.

Russell, Wilma - 2 p.m., Fields Cemetery, Nettie.

Skeen, Thomas - 1 p.m., Casto Funeral Home, Evans.

Smith, David - 11 a.m., procession to leave Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.

Tolley, Mary - 11 a.m., Gandee Chapel / Ward Cemetery.

Young, Kathryn - Service cancelled.