The Finney County Public Library officially took on a new director in August, and on Monday, she introduced herself to the Finney County Commission at the behest of Commissioner Dave Jones, telling commissioners and community members that Garden City is "the perfect place" for her and her family.

Pamela Tuller, formerly assistant director at the library, took the next step in her career on Aug. 1, when she was named director by Library Systems & Services, which operates the Finney County Public Library on behalf of the Finney County Library Board.

“She’s done a great job, and she’s full of enthusiasm, more so than we’re ready for, but she keeps us all on an even keel,” Jones said during Monday’s commission meeting.

The library serves more than 40,000 citizens in southwest Kansas. Since 2012, it has been home to a certified year-round Nature Explore Classroom. The facility also is designated a “Family Place” library, or a community center for literacy, early childhood development, parent education and engagement, family support and community information.

“We are thrilled to have Pam taking on the role of director of Finney County Public Library,” said Mickey Coalwell, regional director for LS&S. “FCPL is an exceptional community resource, and Pam has been a leader in fulfilling our mission to ensure information access to the community and provide the highest quality service to all library patrons. She comes into the position with the full confidence and support of the library board and staff.”

Tuller began working at the library in April 2014 and became assistant director in September 2014. She replaces former director Stephanie Juarez, who occupied the position for almost three years and left in May to be with her family in Texas.

“I’m very excited about being appointed the director,” Tuller said, adding that she soon will earn her master’s degree in library and information science from Drexel University. She already has a bachelor’s degree in business management and ethics.

Tuller’s focus in youth development at the library has led her to create new summer reading events and programs, in addition to clubs such as the Lego Club. She also played a supplementary role in the development of the library’s Anime Club.

She recently planned and coordinated Finney County's first ever “Touch-a-Truck” event in July, which drew more than 1,500 attendees and featured more than 30 service vehicles, including a LifeTeam helicopter and an ambulance.

Tuller said that event was organized as part of 2017’s summer reading program theme, “Building a Better World.”

“We were talking about construction and architecture and community service — everything that makes the world better, so I thought it would be fun to get all these different kinds of recreational and service and different vehicles together so kids could get up close to them, see them and ask about them,” Tuller said, adding that other featured vehicles included a trash truck and a SWAT truck.

Tuller said kids even got to climb into the SWAT truck and talk on the loudspeaker.

“It was a lot of fun, and the kids really seemed to enjoy it,” she said.

The event was so successful, Tuller said, that it eventually will have to be renewed for another round of fun.

For Tuller, continuing to build patron diversity and branching out in terms of partnerships will continue to be priorities.

As for upcoming changes, Tuller said she wants to showcase new books right up front in the display area, rather than keep them “over to the side.”

“I want them to be seen when you walk in the door,” she said.

She added that the library is currently working to categorize audio books with labels, including “western” and “sci-fi,” among others.

And for these projects and many more, Tuller says she will be at the library to oversee the coming changes for the long haul.

“A lot of people wonder how long I’ve been here, how long I’m staying,” she said. “We’ve had different directors that only stay a short period of time. I have lived in Garden City for over 10 years. My husband is a business owner here in town, a veterinarian. We are here. We are planning on staying here for a long time. Our son is in school here in town, and we are Garden Citians.”

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