Chang Liu, Loudoun’s New Library Director
By: Jennie L. Ilustre
Chang Liu is the new Director of Library Services of the Loudoun County Public Library (www.library.loudoun.gov). She manages the Library Department’s budget, which is about $10.5 million, and oversees a 170-member staff.
The Board of Trustees appointed her to the post following an “extensive, nationwide” search. Library Board President Scott Stewart said, “Chang Liu has demonstrated her ability to fill the responsibilities of this position within a highly competitive field of candidates.”
“She has comprehensive experience and knowledge of public library services and a reputation for dedication, integrity, enthusiasm and vision,” he noted. “We look forward to working with her and welcoming her to our community.”
Director Liu previously served as Assistant Director of the Loudoun County Public Library (2001 to 2003). She assumed her new post on February 22. Deputy Library Director John Huddy served as interim Director from August 2010.
On her recent appointment, Director Liu said in an interview: “I am truly honored. Loudoun County Public Library is an award-winning library system, with an outstanding professional reputation. It enjoys broad and strong support from the local community and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. I’m excited about the opportunity to play the leadership role in its continued success.”
She said her immediate goal is try to restore adequate staffing to prevent staff burn-out. “In the past few years, the Library has had to freeze and eliminate some positions due to the county’s budget situation. Meanwhile, we are busier than ever–more people are using the libraries for information, recreational and educational reading, and also programs for children, teens, adults and senior citizens, and space for meetings.”
“As a result, our dedicated staff is working harder than ever with reduced resources,” she said. “I will do my best to motivate and inspire the staff and to provide the support they need in order to better serve the community.”
Her long-term priority is to fully implement the Library’s Strategic Plan, which was developed in 2010 before her arrival.
She noted the budget situation remains a challenge. “Thanks to the support from the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and from the community, our public library has not had to reduce its service hours,” she said. But she stressed the need to continue “advocating the importance of public libraries in a community’s quality of life and economic vitality.”
She explained: “Loudoun County residents check out over 6 million books and other library materials a year, attend thousands of library programs. They use library resources for job hunting, skills-building, homework help, teaching children to read, and learning English as a second language–the list goes on and on. Public libraries are essential to a civil society, where life-long learning and an informed citizenry are valued and appreciated.”
Director Liu was born in China. She has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Beijing University. She received a full scholarship at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she earned a second master’s degree in Information and Library Studies.
Through a nationwide competitive process, Liu was named 2010 Public Library Association’s Leadership Fellow. She attended the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Liu most recently worked for the D.C. Public Library as Associate Director. Before that, she was the Central Division Chief of the Arlington Public Library in Virginia. She is married with two children.
She herself is an avid reader and appreciates other media. She said, “I have so many favorite books. One of my favorites is ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.’ Another is ‘My Antonia.’ For non-fiction, I like books by David McCullough. Among the movies I have watched in the past few years, I like ‘The Lives of Others’ and ‘Crazy Heart.’”
She chose her profession because she loves working with people, and sharing the joy of reading. “I have always enjoyed reading books. I have fond memories of my childhood in China, where reading for fun was such a big part of my upbringing.”