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New Library Managers Announced

Officials of the Metropolitan Library System are pleased to announce the appointment of three new Managers of Library Operations to supervise the Downtown, Midwest City, and Ralph Ellison libraries.

Julie Ballou, who is a native of Oklahoma City and attended Deer Creek High School, is the new Manager of Library Operations for the Downtown Library, 300 Park Avenue.  She has worked for MLS for 15 years, and has a Masters of Library Science degree from the University of Oklahoma.

She and her husband Roy, the Employment Manager for Metropolitan Library System, live in Edmond with their son and dog.  She has two children currently attending Oklahoma State University.

“I became interested in the position of Manager of Library Operations at the Downtown Library,” Ballou said, “after completing the Leadership MLS program which provided me with opportunities to develop leadership skills and expand my knowledge of the library system and its possibilities.”

Chris Kennedy, who is taking the reins at the Midwest City Library, 8143 E. Reno, was born and raised in Norman.  A graduate of OU, Chris holds degrees in Accounting, Marketing, and Masters of Human Relations.  He is currently working on his Master of Library and Information Science degree and hopes to graduate in May of 2009. 

Chris spent ten years in Election Administration in Cleveland County, has taught at OU, and comes to the Metropolitan Library System after eight years managing the Noble Public Library.  Chris has completed Leadership Norman and Leadership Moore and was recently given the Community Service Award by the City of Noble. 

“I am excited to be in Midwest City,” Kennedy said.  “The library is a wonderful facility and the staff has been incredibly supportive.  I look forward to working with my staff to partner with community agencies as we work to make the Midwest City Library the best it can be.”

Michael Eric Owens will take charge of the Ralph Ellison Library and manage daily operations in that library’s temporary location, 1918 NE 23rd, while the permanent building undergoes a major renovation project.

Michael is from Milwaukee and attended the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and then earned his library degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  He is married to a teacher, Karan Owens, and they have two children, Evan and Leah.

Before moving into library work, Michael spent 13 years in the Navy and was named Sailor of the Year – USS Los Alamos, in 1990.

“I heard about the Ralph Ellison manager position, and I immediately applied,” Owens said.  “I wanted to manage an urban library that was the center of its community. I have throughout my career been involved in the Black community.  I have worked with such organizations as the NAACP, Urban League and the Boy and Girls Club of America, and I saw this as an opportunity to continue this work and fulfill my goal of becoming a Library Manager. Combine that with the fact that Oklahoma has a lower cost of living, positive population growth and still retains the feel of a small city, this position was incredibly appealing to me and my family.”

The Metropolitan Library System is proud to have these three outstanding leaders join the ranks of public library managers.

The Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County includes 12 libraries and five extension libraries.  Libraries include Belle Isle, Capitol Hill, Ralph Ellison, Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library and Southern Oaks in Oklahoma City, as well as Bethany, Choctaw, Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Village and Warr Acres.  Extensions are located in the communities of Harrah, Jones, Luther and Nicoma Park and include Wright Library in Oklahoma City.  You can also reach us at www.metrolibrary.org