New director starts at Flossmoor Public Library

Flossmoor Public Library’s new director Jamie Paicely said she is excited to be “immersed in the heart of the village” thanks to her new job.

New Flossmoor Library director Jamie Paicely. (LinkedIn photo)
  New Flossmoor Library
  director Jamie Paicely.

  (LinkedIn photo)

“I just feel like the library is the central point of downtown, so it’s in the heart of the community,” said Paicely, who officially took on the role Dec. 3. “It’s kind of this opportunity to help it keep growing and to help it keep being that central hub.”

The library has had an interim director, Kathy Parker, since May 2018 after its previous director, Aaron Carlin, resigned.  Library Board President Anne Thiros told the Chronicle at the time that Carlin and the board had “different visions for the library.”

Carlin in March 2017 replaced longtime director Megan Millen, who left after 14 years to become director of the Joliet library system.

Paicely is from Indianapolis and earned her master’s degree in library science from Indiana University. She currently lives in Chicago Heights with her husband and three sons, ages 16, 7 and 4.


Paicely joins the Flossmoor library after serving as director of the Steger-South Chicago Heights Library for four years. She started as a reference librarian for the Chicago Heights Library. 


Paicely said the staff has been patient and helpful as she transitions into her role in a bigger library.


“The staff here has been running the library for a few months now with just an interim director, so a lot of the hands-on stuff they’ve had to handle,” she said. “I wasn’t really worried (to get started).”


Paicely said it is important for her to build trust between herself and the staff, especially because she is the library’s third director in a three-year span.


“It’s just within these last couple of years there’s been some turnover, so I think it’s just to kind of show the staff that, yes, I have plans to be here long-term,” she said. “I’m not just going to be in and out.”


Her primary goal as the library’s new director is to get a feel for her responsibilities and learn what is doing well and what is not, she said.


“If things are working, that’s fine with me,” she said. “I’m not going to change it just to change it, but if there are things that do need to be changed or improved on, then that is what I’m here to help facilitate.”


As far as bigger-picture projects, she will assist the staff in developing a strategic plan to address things like cosmetic issues and new carpets, and she plans to focus on supporting local organizations like the park district and schools.


Paicely got a feel of how different departments within the village work together on her sixth day on the job, which happened to be Winterfest. 


“It’s funny because we’ve been to Winterfest before, but not working for the library,” she said. “I didn’t realize exactly what all that entailed.”


The library hosted many of Flossmoor’s annual traditions during the Dec. 8 festival, such as photos with Santa, gifts for children from Flossmoor firefighters, crafts with Girl Scouts and story time with Mayor Paul Braun.


“You have the library, the village, the fire department all working together to carry out this event,” Paicely said. “It’s just nice to be a part of that where people are willing to help out and pitch in.”


It is just as well Paicely got to experience Winterfest from behind the scenes, as that sense of community is what drew her to working in libraries in the first place, she said.


Whether patrons are students doing homework, moms bringing their children for story time or adults looking to enhance their knowledge, the library has something for everyone, Paicely said.


“I like being able to help and support and continue to grow with the community and to help the community grow as well,” she said.


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