Lois Langer Thompson, a librarian with more than 20 years experience in the Hennepin County Library system, has been appointed by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners to be Hennepin County Library’s new director.
Hennepin County Administrator Richard Johnson said, “Lois’s vision is what the Library needs right now. It’s time to be creative and deliver service in a new way. Her open mind and objective perspective, paired with two decades of Hennepin County Library experience, will help us navigate through our economic challenges and make the Library an even more essential institution in the eyes of our residents.”
Hennepin County Board Chair Mike Opat said, “Our world-class library system has never been more important for our residents than it is today. Its success has come as a result of a dedicated staff and many excellent directors, so I’m very pleased that Lois will now lead the Library in a permanent position. Only one year has passed since the Library nearly doubled in size by folding in the Minneapolis libraries, and there is much work yet to be done to create a seamless, unified system. Lois is the right person to lead the task, and I look forward to many accomplishments in the years ahead.”
Thompson became the Hennepin County Library's interim director after Director Amy Ryan resigned last September to become president of the Boston Public Library.
Thompson's other positions at Hennepin County Library have included deputy library director, division manager, coordinating librarian, and senior librarian, among others.
As interim library director, Thompson led the ongoing consolidation of Hennepin County Library and Minneapolis Public Library, a system of 41 libraries. Her responsibilities included preparing the 2009 operating budget and 2009-2013 capital budget, implementing cost saving reductions of more than $1 million while overseeing the 2008 budget, executing the Hennepin County Library's Capital Plan, and building collaborations within and outside County government.
Among her responsibilities while deputy library director, Thompson managed Hennepin County Library's Capital Projects Office and created an integrated organizational structure following the merger with the Minneapolis Public Library last January.
As division manager for library services, Thompson directed staff at 26 libraries and fostered a customer-focused environment that anticipated and embraced new ideas, technologies, and learning. While coordinating librarian of Hennepin County Library's Southwest Resource Group of seven libraries, her responsibilities included managing the Eden Prairie Library building project.
She also was a senior librarian at the Eden Prairie Library, a supervising librarian at the Plymouth Library, an Adult Services librarian in the southeast cluster libraries (Augsburg Park, Oxboro, and Penn Lake), and a Youth Services librarian at the Westonka, Maple Grove, and Penn Lake libraries.
Prior to Thompson's employment at Hennepin County, she was an Adult Services librarian at the New Ulm Public Library.
Thompson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in history and a minor in business, from Gustavus Adolphus College. She earned a Master of Arts degree in librarianship and information management from the University of Denver.
Thompson received Library Journal's Movers and Shakers Award in 2004, which honors "emerging leaders in the library world…from across the United States and Canada who are innovative, creative, and making a difference."
“I'm honored to lead Hennepin County Library,” said Thompson, a resident of Edina. “I look forward to working with the County Board, whose support ensures our community has a premier library system. And I appreciate the commitment of the Library Board, Library Foundation, and staff who make it a reality.”