Barbara Draeger chosen as library director for New Berlin

Barbara Draeger, head of adult services at the New Berlin Library, paused to chat with Library Director Dennis Sampson in 2010.

Barbara Draeger, head of adult services at the New Berlin Library, paused to chat with Library Director Dennis Sampson in 2010. Photo By Peter Zuzga

April 28, 2014

New Berlin — The head of adult services at the New Berlin Library, Barbara Draeger, was the unanimous choice of the library board to take over when Library Director Dennis Sampson retires this summer.

"We're so excited she applied for the position and we're looking for great things," said Patti Orzel, library board president. The board chose Draeger last week.

Draeger has more than 31 years of experience with the New Berlin Library. She has supervised the library when the director and deputy director were gone and was acting library director for more than two months in 1993.

She helped implement the library's new self-checkout system and its upgrade last year and supervised two major projects in 2011 and 2012.

Draeger also has trained, scheduled and assigned adult section librarians and planned and conducted library programming, including monthly book clubs.

In addition, Draeger represents continuity with the improvements Sampson brought to the library, Orzel said.

"We were so pleased with what Dennis has done and the path he put us on," she said. "We were looking for continuity."

The board also liked Draeger's participation in its meetings.

"We were very impressed by what we had seen," Orzel said.

Topping it all off was a staff survey the board took even before the evaluation process began, she said. One of the questions was how well the staff would work with Draeger if she became director.

"Overwhelmingly they were pleased that she had applied and had confidence in her abilities. That spoke volumes," Orzel said.

One of the things Orzel said she herself was interested in is how a new director would get feedback from patrons. Draeger fielded that question last week, saying that she would use a combination of surveys and accepting all comments from people.

"That's the answer I was looking for," Orzel said.

Draeger said she was honored by the board's decision.

"It will be an adventure," she acknowledged, but one that she's looking forward to. "Pretty much everything we do here, I've done it,"

One of her initiatives: "I've always felt the director should be a very visible presence in the library and people will be welcome to ask me questions as they come up," Draeger said.

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