For the next 16 months, the Strathmore Municipal Library is under new direction, as previous Director of Library Services, Rachel Dick Hughes, steps aside for her maternity leave.
Anayo Ugboma has been hired as Dick Hughes’ replacement on contract, beginning his tenure in the position on April 19.
“I was part of the hiring committee. The board had three members on the committee and then they invited me to join, which I really appreciate. It’s an interesting thing to hire somebody to replace yourself, but I think Anayo has a lot of qualities that I really appreciate,” said Dick Hughes. “He is very open to hearing what staff have to say and to their input and he is very community minded, very partnership minded, which I think will suit this library really well.”
Ugboma comes to Strathmore following a position at the Hinton Municipal Library and brings a decade of library management experience with him.
Ugboma has worked in both academic and public libraries for the past 10 years in Japan, London and in Alberta.
“I think it’s more of access to information. Growing up, I didn’t have that, but this is something I’ve wanted to have (and) always struggled with growing up — gaining access to information,” said Ugboma. “Having an interest to access information, that was really the big thing for me and that was the reason I went to graduate school.”
Dick Hughes explained she felt Ugboma was the strongest applicant who showed an interest in taking over for her and she was impressed at how he had managed the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in his previous position.
“I think he will have different strengths than me in some ways, so I’m excited to see that unfold while I’m away,” said Dick Hughes. “He really is passionate about the library serving the needs of the community, which is always important to us and to the board. I think he will keep a very strong community focus to library services.”
Ugboma explained his first week on the team was primarily focused on getting to know Dick Hughes, the staff at the library and the many volunteers who help out around the facility.
Prior to her leave, Dick Hughes added there will be many things to be excited about that involve the library, which will now be overseen by the new interim director.
“Our early literacy programs are growing, our book club is moving to having in-person events which is really exciting and then we’re looking at the fall for more adult and teen programming opportunities,” said Dick Hughes. “We’re doing a lot of partnerships with different organizations in town that I think will provide more opportunities for things for people to do.”
Ugboma is on contract to occupy the position as interim Director of Library Services until September 2023.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times