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Longtime director of Forsyth County Public Library retiring

FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County’s library system must soon say goodbye to its longtime — and only — director and driving force behind the expansive change book lovers have seen over the past two decades.

Jon McDaniel officially announced his retirement, effective Dec. 18, during the Forsyth County Public Library Board’s meeting Monday. McDaniel has been the system’s director for nearly 20 years.

“It has been my honor and privilege to be part of the growth of the Forsyth County Public Library from a single facility serving 70,000 citizens when I became director in 1996 to the current multi-facility system serving over 200,000 citizens today,” he said in his retirement letter.

Before moving into the top position, McDaniel worked in the Gwinnett-Forsyth Regional Library system for 17 years, holding an array of positions.

He was tasked with leading the establishment of Forsyth’s independent library system in 1996 as manager of the Cumming branch, then the only library in the county.

“The past 19 years as director have been the most productive years of my library career and represent the finest achievement of my life,” he said.

McDaniel’s retirement represents the first vacancy in the library system’s directorial seat, and its board members and human resources department have established a procedure for finding the best successor.

Mary Helen McGruder, who chairs the board, said the goal is to name a new director in October.

“They have to have a master’s [degree]in library science,” McGruder said of criteria that will be posted on the job description. “They have to have been in a library similar to ours with the growth and expectations of Forsyth County.”

After a job description is posted, the board will conduct phone interviews and a skills test before bringing candidates for in-person interviews. The board, human resources and library department heads will all be involved to ensure the right candidate is suitable in all areas.

“Jon truly has been our only director and has done such a wonderful job at getting us where we are,” McGruder said, “and we want to make sure we find someone who will keep us on the same path.”