The longtime leader of the library’s board of trustees is stepping down as president, but not from the group.
“It’s been a wonderful, wild ride,” said Brian Paskvan at Monday’s Wood County District Public Library Board of Trustees meeting.
Paskvan, who has been president for 14 years, has been serving on board since 2005 and will continue to do so.
“I love this organization greatly, but I really think it’s time after 14 years for someone to step up to the plate and do the leadership role,” he said.
Ken Frisch, who will be the new president, said Paskvan has led the board through some challenges, including getting the library’s first operating levy passed in 2010.
Becky Bhaer, who will be the board vice president, thanked Paskvan for his years of service and dedication. He is especially good with the media, she added.
“You have been a very effective advocate for the library,” added board member Ellen Dalton, who will be the board secretary.
Library Director Michael Penrod said that Paskvan always takes in every side before making decisions.
“Brian is an amazing example of a compassionate leader,” he said. “He sees the big picture, but then he also says, ‘How is this going to impact the patrons? How is this going to impact the staff? What are the ways that we can do more and still be frugal?’
“He’s just a perfect example of selfless leadership,” Penrod said.
In a follow-up email, he said that during his time as president, Paskvan weathered the Great Recession, including founding the Foundation’s annual Schedel (now Novel Night) benefit in 2009 and passage of the first-ever operating levy in 2010.
Paskvan also was instrumental in:
• Leading the effort to renew that levy in 2014 and again in 2020. Each time with a larger margin of support from the community.
• Restoring and opening the Carter House in 2013.
• Advocating for the renovation and expansion of the Walbridge library in 2017.
• Advocating with the foundation in creating and funding the Foundation Series (most recently hosting Danny Trejo).
• Leading several Strategic Plans that have challenged and inspired Penrod and the entire staff to think of new things to do to serve the community.
“Brian is a kind, funny, thoughtful servant leader. One that sees the big picture and long term goal, and yet can help me navigate minute details as needed,” Penrod said. “I have been honored to work for and with him. I am glad to be able to retain his service to the trustees and to the foundation board.”
In other business, Penrod went through a 2022 list of highlights for the library.
Novel Night was the number one “gem” this year, drawing in over $129,000 in donations.
There were dozens of community partnerships, including ones with city and county parks, school districts and Bowling Green State University.
There were four author visits, including Danny Trejo and Raul III with “the most diverse town and gown audience” that Penrod has seen in a long time.
“Community engagement has been at the charts,” he said, citing a monthly column in the Sentinel-Tribune and the bookmobile on the road.
In-person programs, such as homework help with snacks and summer reading, had tremendous attendance.
There were also some unusual ventures, including a seed library and the continued expansion of the “library of things,” which offers gadgets, such as telescopes, a karaoke system and photo scanner, to check out.