TADL picks Howard as next director

Michele Howard

TRAVERSE CITY — Michele Howard is poised to become Traverse Area District Library's next director.

TADL board members unanimously picked Howard, of Traverse City, said Caroline Gersch, board president.

Howard, currently head of adult educational programming for TADL, was one of three candidates interviewed on May 31 — Ryan Deery of Allegan and Leah Dodd of Battle Creek were the other two.

All three were impressive, but Howard rose to the top because of strong relationships she already has within the community, her knowledge of the library and city’s cultures, skill set and “contagious positive energy,” Gersch said.

Howard has proved to be a collaborative leader with great ideas for the library’s future and how it can be more influential in the community, she said.

“I liked that (Howard) referred to it as wanting to be ‘the anchor of Eighth Street,’” Gersch said.

Howard, a city commissioner, has been with TADL since January 2018 and has worked in various library systems for more than 20 years, including 12 years at Northwestern Michigan College's library, according to her resume.

Current Director Gail Parsons' coming retirement spurred Howard to seek the job because she wants to maintain the library's role as an institution many love, Howard said. She's looking forward to creating plans to make it even better while listening to community feedback on what they want from TADL.

Contract negotiations haven't begun but Howard expects to take the job on Oct 1, she said.

Howard already recuses herself from city commission votes concerning the library, and that wouldn't change when she becomes director, she said.

Editor's note: This article was updated to add Alexa Zoellner to the byline. — June 10, 2019