State Librarian Changes for MN

This past summer Nancy Walton announced her retirement as the State Librarian for Minnesota. In a recent interview by Minitex she stated, “The best advice that I could give for you… don’t cling to the past, be willing to embrace the future.” Click here to listen/download the entire interview with Nancy Walton as she looks back on her career. Since then, Kevin McHenry, Assistant Commissioner has been meeting with various library systems to talk about the pending transitions in leadership and to identify a list of current issues.

Here is a statement written by McHenry on 9/11/13;

Over the last month I have had an opportunity to work closely with State Library Services as Acting Chief Library Officer.  I have developed an understanding of the needs and challenges that libraries in Minnesota are facing today and am eager to take the next steps in restructuring State Library Services so that the division is poised to support quality library services that address the needs of Minnesotans.

As we move forward with planning for a new Director/State Librarian while also supporting division staff on a day-to-day basis, I am pleased to announce that Jennifer R. Nelson has accepted the position of Interim Director. Jen has worked in and for libraries for well over 25 years. Her extensive background includes stints as a children’s librarian, reference librarian, interlibrary loan coordinator, archives assistant, e-resource and training coordinator and more. She is recognized across the United States for her work in developing innovative technology programs for youth and is the author of “Technology and literacy: 21st century library programming for children and teens” (ALA Editions, 2012).  Jen also serves as an adjunct faculty member in St. Catherine University’s MLIS program, teaching a course in grant writing and proposal development. Her expertise in administration, project management and partnership development will ensure a consistent level of support for Minnesota’s libraries and build on the work that we have already accomplished. Jen can be reached directly at 651-582-8791 or

I will be working closely with Jen during her time as interim director and continue to welcome your thoughts, ideas and feedback on how State Library Services can best address the needs of libraries.

Kevin McHenry
Assistant Commissioner
Minnesota Department of Education
O: 651.582.8250   M: 612.306.0895

“Leading for educational excellence and equity- Every day for every one”

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