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Addison hires new library director

Berman (click for larger version)
May 04, 2011 - After a search that spanned nearly two months, the Addison Township Public Library finally has a new director and her name is Jaema Berman.

"Jaema's a great candidate," said Evelyn Pickwick, acting president of the library board. "She's got all the qualifications that we're looking for. She has experience with fund-raising and she's worked in public libraries for several years."

During a special meeting held Friday, April 29, Addison's library board voted 3-1 to offer Berman the full-time director position with an annual salary of $33,000, plus five days of paid vacation per year and eight paid holidays.

Berman, 58, of Auburn Hills, accepted the job offer Monday night and will start May 23.

"It just seems like such a wonderful opportunity for me to help this library go in a new direction," she said. "I'm devoted to promoting libraries to people (in) all stages (of) their lives."

Seeing how supportive the community and Friends group are of the library "fueled (her) enthusiasm to obtain this position."

"I just feel that the Addison Township library is the heart of the community," she said. "I'm very excited to be a part of this new 'page' in your history."

Berman's looking forward to "creating new programming (and) offering new resources for children, teens and adults"

"I hope to spark the collective imagination of the community," she said. "It's my mission to get the whole community involved in developing (and) promoting library services that reflect our unique identity, our historic identity, now and in the future."

Berman's been employed full-time as an adult services librarian at the Waterford Township Public Library since February 2006.

There she's developed creative and popular lectures and workshops for adult patrons along with reorganizing the Adult Summer Reading Program.

"I feel that my role as a librarian offers a very unique opportunity to bring education, literacy (and) the arts to a community and to help preserve local history and local knowledge," she said. "I feel that the library is a community center and I feel that my strengths lie in bringing people together and working together with the community."

She considers her "strong points" to be "communication" and "seeking out the opinions of other people to find out what they want, so our services reflect what the community needs and (are) relevant to the direction it wants to go."

In addition to Waterford, Berman currently works part-time as coordinator of the library technician program at Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills. She's been working in that capacity since 1999.

As program coordinator, Berman's gained experience hiring and evaluating staff, managing a budget, creating new curriculum, designing a website and developing marketing tools.

Berman also has experience writing and being awarded grants.

No stranger to northeast Oakland, Berman worked part-time as a public services librarian the Oxford Public Library from January 2005 through January 2006.

As far as education, Berman has a master's degree in library science from Wayne State University, which she attained in 1992, and a Bachelor of Arts from Chatham College (1976).

"I really liked her," Pickwick said. "She's very articulate and has that love of libraries that we're looking for. She has wonderful experience with successful library programs. I think she'll make a great director."

Michele Presley, who served as Addison's library director from 1999 onward, completed her last day on the job Friday, April 29. She's moving to Texas.

For now, Lyn Henderson is the library's acting director. She will remain so until Berman takes over.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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