KENT COUNTY, MI – Martha Esch, Director of Kent District Library, has announced her retirement from KDL effective June 18, 2010. Esch was hired in 1993 as the Grandville Branch Manager and promoted to KDL Director in 2001.
During her tenure, Esch has led a number of efforts to help keep KDL at the forefront of library innovation and service. She was instrumental in the creation of the KDL Fund, which helps to provide continued funding for early literacy and other essential library services through charitable giving. Esch has successfully led the campaign for a ten-year millage of .88 mill/year. She has also spearheaded three strategic plans, brought radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to KDL to improve efficiency and promote self check-out for patrons, and instituted a floating collection which reduces the amount of time items spend in transit from one library to another.
Since Esch became Director in 2001, the number of branch visitors per year has increased almost 50 percent to over 3.6 million in 2009 and total items checked out per year has gone up over 77 percent to almost 6.4 million. Esch also had the opportunity to see several new library building projects completed by the municipalities served by KDL, a testament to their support of libraries.
Most recently, Esch was presented the Michigan Library Association’s 2010 Librarian of the Year award, which honors outstanding members of the library profession.
“It has been an honor to serve as the KDL Director and participate in such a strong regional partnership with 26 communities in Kent County as well as the Kent County Board of Commissioners. I am happy to have been a part of such tremendous growth and to have witnessed such strong community support.” said Esch. “I am honored to have received MLA’s Librarian of the Year award and would like to share this accolade with the people and communities, as well as KDL staff and Board members that have helped our organization reach its goals throughout the years.”
Assistant Director Cheryl Garrison will serve as Interim Director until a new Director is hired.