Marcellus Turner, the executive director of the Jefferson County Public Library, has been named as the city’s new top librarian.
Turner, who topped two other finalists for the job, will take over in August.
He replaces former City Librarian Susan Hildreth, who was appointed to head the Institute for Museum and Library Services in Washington, D.C.
Turner will oversee Seattle’s main downtown library and 26 branch libraries. He will be paid $150,000 a year.
“Seattle has one of the top public library systems in the nation,” said Turner, who worked for the Tacoma Public Library as a department supervisor in 2000. He said he is excited about returning to the Pacific Northwest.
Library Board President Marie McCaffrey said Turner impressed the board with his leadership skills and energy for leading the library into a bold new chapter. She said the board was also impressed with how he handled difficult budget decisions in his Colorado library system.
Turner has more than 20 years of experience in library services. At Jefferson County, he oversees a $27 million budget and a staff of 250 and serves a population of 548,000 people.
As head of Seattle Public Library Turner will oversee a $50 million budget and 640 employees.
Before joining the Jefferson County Public Library, he was assistant executive director of the Rockford Public Library in Rockford, Ill and worked at the Atlantic City Free Public Library in Atlantic City, N.J.
He holds a masters degree in library science from the University of Tennessee.
The other finalists for the job were Charles M. Brown, director of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in Charlott, N.C. and Nancy Ledeboer, director of Pima County Public Library in Tucson, Ariz.