New library director brings experience in growing system

Thursday, May 2, 2002

Mary Mogan Edwards
Dispatch Staff Reporter

Mike Munden / Dispatch

Metro Mouse, the Columbus Metropolitan Library mascot, initiates new Director Patrick Losinski with a library card and a nose squeeze.

As a library director for the past 15 years, Patrick Losinski hasn't worked behind a checkout counter or a reference desk for a while, but he still finds them the most exciting spots in a library.

"When I'm passing through and I see a mom with her kids — and all of them carrying armloads of books — that is, to this day, extremely inspiring to me," Losinski said.

After he takes over as director of the Columbus Metropolitan Library in August, Losinski likely will see plenty of inspiration. In 2001, the library loaned 17 percent more items than the year before, and this year appears to be headed for another double-digit increase.

Library officials announced yesterday that Losinski, who heads the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs, Colo., will replace Larry Black as director. Black, who has held the position for 18 years, is retiring June 28.

Losinski, 42, is no stranger to booming circulation; during his five-year tenure with the Pikes Peak system, the number of items loaned rose by 25 percent.

He impressed the Columbus Metropolitan Library Board most with his success in dramatically transforming the Pikes Peak system, board Vice President Terry Boyd said.

The bigger Columbus system has a main Downtown library and 20 branches, as well as the Northwest Library, a joint operation with the Worthington library system. Pikes Peak has a main library and 10 branches.

They were little-used until Losinski nearly doubled their operating hours, without a funding increase, Boyd said.

With Ohio's relatively strong library funding, "Mr. Losinsky's vision for what the (Columbus) library can achieve is amazing," he said.

The fact that Columbus voters agreed in November 2000 to extend the library's 2.2-mill operating levy until 2012 is a comfort, Losinski said, but he still expects to have to stretch the budget in coming years to serve more users.

Judging from his experience in Colorado, that's likely to involve technology.

Although the Columbus library's Web site,, allows anyone to search for available materials and lets members reserve them, the Pikes Peak site — — is more advanced.

A search for a book title, for instance, yields not only the basic bibliographical information, but a view of the book jacket, a synopsis and sometimes a book review and links to related books and Web sites.

The Pikes Peak system also e-mails borrowers the day before items are due to be returned.

"That is one of the single most-popular things we do," Losinski said.

Boyd said Losinski's salary hasn't yet been set, but said it will not exceed Black's annual salary of $144,000. The board should approve a contract for Losinski this week.

His wife, Vicky, and two children will join him in Columbus.

Losinski said he plans to keep "pushing out" the library's services to new users.

"Our goal isn't to fill our shelves with books," he said. "Our goal is to store our collection in the homes of all of our users."

Copyright © 2002, The Columbus Dispatch