Stark Library’s new CEO and Executive Director, Mary Ellen Icaza, was appointed in June by the Board of Directors after a months-long national search. Mary Ellen is excited about this opportunity and is looking forward to living and working in Stark County.
“Community is so important to me,” Mary Ellen Icaza, CEO and Executive Director of Stark Library said, when asked why she chose Stark County as her new home. “My family and I wanted a place where we could live, work, and become actively engaged in our community.”
When Mary Ellen and her family visited Stark County for the first time, they loved the hometown feel of the community. “Montgomery County, MD, where we lived, is part of the busy DC metro area. As we drove around the Stark area, we were struck by how friendly and warm it is here.”
On their first visit, Mary Ellen and Victoria explored the area’s neighborhoods, parks, and community offerings, while Javier and Christian spent some time at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “I am so delighted with all that Stark has to offer,” Mary Ellen reports. "We're enjoying exploring the area and discovering more about it.”
The whole family was on board with the move. “We are all very excited about the opportunities and adventures ahead,” Mary Ellen said with a smile. “We visited the school that the children will be attending, and toured many neighborhoods before deciding on a home in Plain Township.”
Mary Ellen brings more than 15 years of library experience to Stark County. When asked why she chose our Library, her answer was clear. “I am so impressed by Stark Library and our mission to empower individuals in our
community to improve their lives through lifelong learning, starting with even the youngest members of the community,” Icaza states.
“I am passionate about early literacy, so the programs surrounding the Start Smart philosophy, really resonate with me. The collaboration between the Library, schools, and other community organizations is so powerful.”“
Everyone in the community has been so welcoming, from the Library staff and patrons, to community leaders, and residents in the area,” she concludes. “I am looking forward to meeting everyone, getting to know the area, and gearing up for this next exciting chapter in our lives.”
If you see Mary Ellen and her family out and about, make sure you introduce yourself and welcome them to the Stark family.
Mary Ellen brings more than 15 years of experience working in urban public libraries to her role as CEO/Executive Director of Stark Library. Her career includes 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.
Mary Ellen is passionate about early childhood literacy and likes to think of libraries as the dynamic center of the community, where everyone is welcome and everything is free. She is also an advocate of using technology to provide services and evaluating existing offerings to serve patrons in new and surprising ways.
“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.