Heidi Daniel to become new King County Library System executive director

The King County Library System (KCLS) Board of Trustees has selected Heidi Daniel to become KCLS’ new executive director. Following a nationwide search after Lisa Rosenblum’s announcement to retire, the Board of Trustees voted to extend an offer of employment to Daniel at the board meeting on December 13. Daniel accepted the offer, and she will begin her leadership role on March 11, 2024.

"Our search firm and committee conducted a rigorous interview process, with input from a diverse panel of staff, trustee and community stakeholders, to find KCLS’ next executive director,” stated KCLS Board of Trustees President Harish Kulkarni. “Daniel emerged as the most qualified and competitive candidate. She will bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and an impressive track record of innovation and community service to KCLS."

Daniel joins KCLS from the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland where she has served as president and CEO since July 2017. Under Daniel’s leadership, the Pratt became one of the first fines-free public libraries on the East Coast. Daniel also oversaw the completion of the Central Library renovation, and helped spearhead plans for a new Park Heights Library, the Pratt’s first new building in more than 15 years. She helped launch the library’s Office of Equity and Fair Practices, steered the organization through the start of the unionization process, led new and innovative public service strategies through the historic COVID-19 pandemic, and kickstarted a new Master Facilities Plan to help ensure the Pratt’s ability to serve generations to come.

Prior to working at the Pratt, Daniel served as executive director of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County in Youngstown, Ohio for nearly five years. Daniel, the 2015 recipient of the Ohio Librarian of the Year award, oversaw 15 library branches throughout Mahoning County, worked on several major building projects and spearheaded innovative new services, including a Pop-Up Library and the circulation of mobile Wi-Fi hot spots.

“We are excited to welcome Heidi to KCLS and Washington state,” stated KCLS Interim Executive Director Angie Miraflor. “Her broad leadership experience, and outstanding ability to build internal and external relationships, will serve our patrons well. We can’t wait to work with her.”

“I am deeply honored to take the helm of the King County Library System,” said Daniel. “I’ve been impressed with KCLS, its staff and the Pacific Northwest. KCLS is nationally known for its excellence, commitment to community and welcoming atmosphere, and I am thrilled to build upon its foundation while moving KCLS into the future.”

The daughter of a factory worker, Daniel’s parents did not go to college, but used the library in her Michigan hometown to impress upon her the importance of education. Daniel earned her bachelor's degree in women’s studies at DePaul University and her master’s degree in library sciences at Texas Woman’s University. She began her career in children’s and teen programming in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Houston, Texas before moving into library administration.