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Send Elder on her way
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Re "Management shake-up at SLC Library" (Tribune, Dec. 30):

From 2000 to 2007, I was the assistant director of the Salt Lake City Public Library System. A great library is more than just stunning architecture. The staff worked hard to give Salt Lake's citizens a library they could enjoy and be proud of.

The heart and soul of the City Library was an organizational culture that empowered the staff and encouraged innovation and dedication to the principles of openness, inclusiveness and respect for patrons. It took years to build that unique culture, which was studied and emulated across the nation.

Sadly, it has taken only a short time to destroy it. Library Director Beth Elder's war with library managers reversed years of trust and empowerment that built a staff that was as creative, devoted, hard-working and skilled as any in the nation. Dysfunction and fear now reign. Talented board members and staff have left and more will follow.

We have gone from a highly functioning, coherent and successful organization to one that is falling apart. The buck stops with the director. Elder's contract is up in April. The library board should stop the damage and send her on her way.

Chip Ward


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