Page One

New library director honored

By Jeffrey Obser Daily Planet correspondent
Sunday September 09, 2001

The Berkeley Public Library system and its friends and supporters marked the beginning of a new era Friday afternoon in an official reception to welcome its new Director of Library Services, Jackie Y. Griffin. 

“We’ve been sort of marking time until we could get the new library renovation done and until we could get a new director,” said Gabrielle Morris, a Friends of the Berkeley Public Library board member. “We’re glad to have a new head in office so all these ideas that have been around for the last six months can get going.” 

Griffin replaces Adelia Lines, who died Dec. 7 after a long career distinguished by the founding of the Berkeley Public Library Foundation and a successful campaign to win public support for the Central Library restoration. 

“Jackie Griffin seems like the same kind of person, someone with experience in outreach in a library in a college town,” Morris said. 

Griffin, who started work Aug. 6, had spent two years as director of the Eugene Public Library in Eugene, Ore. 

“Eugene’s kind of like a training ground for Berkeley,” she said in an interview. 

Griffin started her career as a head librarian in Illinois, then spent six years with the King County, Washington library system, in the Seattle area before moving to Eugene. She came to Berkeley with her partner and two sons, aged 4 and 13. A daughter, aged 19, is a student at the University of Oregon. 

Griffin will oversee one of the most vibrant and beloved library systems in the country, with more than 420,000 books and 152,000 library card holders (in a city with just over 100,000 residents). 

“We get people from all over the East Bay, we get people from San Francisco, from Sacramento, from San Jose,” said reference specialist Anne-Marie Miller. “People call from all over the world. Some say they lived here and they know it’s a good library. Some people call from the East Coast because of the time difference. They pick Berkeley because it has a good reputation.” 

“One of the things that was attractive to me about coming here was just the support of the community, the willingness to pass bond measures to support the library, the involvement,” Griffin said. 

“Right now my number one mission is to continue that, to strengthen our ties to the community, and make sure we continue to be a good resource. I’m not going to start messing with things when they’re going so well.”