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Ida Rupp director on to next chapter

Tom Jackson • Mar 7, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Deborah Loiacono, the director of Ida Rupp Public Library in Port Clinton, has announced she’s leaving to accept a position at Westlake Porter Public Library.

Loiacono will be the adult services manager at Westlake Porter, where she’ll start on March 31. Her last day at Ida Rupp will be March 14.

The president of the library board, James Widmer, said the board has begun the process of searching for Loiacono’s replacement.

“It’s going to be very difficult to find somebody of Debbie’s caliber” he said. “She did a wonderful job”

The board does not have a firm timetable for finding a new director. The assistant director and fiscal officer, Lauren Lemmon, will be named interim director of the library until a new director is named, Widmer said.

Loiacono has served as the library director for about four years.

“I will really miss the people here” Loiacono said. “I have the most amazing staff, so it’s a hard decision”

She said the difficulty of commuting from Bay Village, particularly during the winter, played a part in her decision.

“The crazy winter that we had just did me in” she said.

Loiacono, 58, obtained her master’s degree in library science from Kent State University and began her library career at Westlake Porter. She also worked at Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library before taking the post at Ida Rupp, her first job as director.

“I think we made some tremendous strides and wonderful improvements. It’s time for somebody else to have the opportunity,” she said. “They can come in and continue to make wonderful things happen”

Loiacono said in the past four years, the library started a browsing collection of new books, used grant money to improve computers and technology in the building, used Friends of the Library money to improve the entrance and grounds, replaced furniture inside the building and greatly expanded programming.

The library launched an app for smartphones and tablets a few weeks ago and recently added IndieFlix, a movie streaming service. Last week, it announced it expanded Freegal, its digital music offering.

Loiacono will be leaving before voters decide the fate of the library’s levy in the May 6 primary.

“I’m sorry about that, but I’ve been working very hard to make sure everything is in place, and I have a really strong group of people” she said.

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