Mary Ellen Icaza Named New CEO/Executive Director of Stark Library

June 25, 2018 (Canton, Ohio) –The Stark Library Board of Trustees is pleased to announce Mary Ellen Icaza as the library’s new CEO/Executive Director. Icaza will join the library on July 16, when she will assume responsibility for leading the strategy planning and execution of Stark Library’s innovative vision to transform library services in the community. Stark Library system includes the Main Library, nine branches, a 24/7 digital library, and the largest bookmobile fleet in the state.

Icaza brings to the position more than 15 years of experience working in urban public libraries, and offers expertise in library technologies, programming, budget, strategic planning, and community engagement. Icaza most recently comes from the Montgomery County Public Library in Maryland, a system of 21 branches, where she oversaw all programming, community outreach, and special events.

“The Board is confident that Mary Ellen will be a visionary leader for us. Her passion for communities, technology, and early childhood literacy will make her a strong asset to Stark County and we are thrilled to welcome her,” said Steven Pittman, president of the Board.

“I am excited to lead the team at Stark Library,” said Icaza. “This is a wonderful library system and I look forward to building upon the board’s directive to be innovative in transforming ourselves to meet Stark County’s changing needs. I have a collaborative, community-based leadership style and intend to become very involved in community partnerships and organizations to continue to engage and delight our patrons.”

Icaza received her Master of Library Science degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and Bachelor degree from The Catholic University of America. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Montgomery County Collaboration Council and the JCA Heyman Interages Center Advisory Board. In 2004, she was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker and was selected as a participant in the 2015 American Library Association Leadership Institute. She also received the 2018 EPIC Award for Education from Montgomery Community Media.

Icaza’s appointment is the culmination of a months-long national search and interview process with the assistance of the executive search firm of John Keister and Associates (Chicago). In addition to those services, the Board received input from multiple stakeholders including the Foundation Board, Main’s Friends of the Library, members of staff, and the employee union.

Icaza and her family will relocate to Stark County in the near future. When she starts on Monday, July 16, she will take the helm from Jean Duncan McFarren, the library’s Deputy Director, who has served as Acting Executive Director since January.




One of the 9 largest library systems in Ohio – and the county’s oldest library – Stark Library serves the community through 10 locations, six mobile libraries, and a 24/7 digital branch.

A 2009 winner of the prestigious National Medal for library service, the Library serves more than 240,000 residents, annually circulating nearly 4 million items from its 1.5 million item collection and providing access to an additional 66 million items from lending networks throughout Ohio. Each year the library presents more than 9,000 programs for 166,000 attendees and provides 220,000 computer sessions on the publicly available computers found in each branch. In 2017, Stark Library served nearly 2 million visitors at all locations and online.

Today, as it reimagines itself as The Smart Store, where everything is free®, the Library is emerging as a national thought-leader with innovations such as its “no overdue fines” policy, the BikeSmart bike sharing network, passport services and the Start Smart School Partnership.

For locations, hours or more information visit or call 330.452.0665.

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