Russell appointed as Executive Director


By Staff Report

The Muskingum County Library System’s Board of Trustees announced Thursday morning during its monthly meeting that they had selected an individual to serve as the origination’s next executive director.

Stacey Russell, who has served for nearly three decades as the library system’s fiscal officer, has also served as interim executive director since last November when Jennifer Spillman resigned from her role as executive director.

According to Zanesville Mayor Don Mason, who serves as Vice President of the Library Board, a nationwide search was conducted by the Board’s Personnel Committee.

At the onset of the search, board members approached Russell and asked her to consider applying for the position.

Russell said that she was very humbled that the board would consider her to potentially become the executive of the library system.

That search found Russell to stand out among the other candidates and exemplified the experience and knowledge board members were looking for.

Coupled with her firsthand knowledge of the organization’s operations and fiscal situation, Mason explained that she was a perfect fit.

Russell was informed Monday that the Personnel Committee would be selecting her for their recommendation to the board as to who should be the next executive director.

Thursday morning the board then voted unanimously to hire Russell to the position.

Russell is a Muskingum County native and a graduate of John Glenn High School.

While attending grade school, Russell spent time at the New Concord Library, an event she cites as an ignition point that began her career.

While attending Marietta College, where she studied accounting, Russell worked in the college library and interned in the Muskingum County Auditor’s Office.

Having specialized in governmental accounting, soon after Russell graduated she applied for and was accepted to an open position as the fiscal officer at the Muskingum County Library.

There over her 26 years of employment, she made a career for herself, while also being active in the community.

Alongside her husband, Matt Russell, who works for the Muskingum County Engineer’s Office, the two served as co-chairs of the Zanesville City School’s Levy Committee last fall, where their daughter Madeline Russell is an alum, helping to successfully pass the funding measure.

Russell is also active in the Ohio Government Finance Officers Association, the Ohio Library Council, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada, Muskingum County 4-H, the United Way of Muskingum Perry and Morgan Counties, the Woman of Achievement Steering Committee and Coburn United Methodist Church.

During her tenure as interim executive director, Russell helped navigate the library system through the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, which included the initial state-ordered shutdown which left all of the library’s branches closed.

Russell described how along with her leadership team and staff they were able to pivot to online services as customers couldn’t physically come into a library.

“The staff has done incredible things to provide the community with resources that they need,” said Russell. “Honestly, I’m very proud to be able to lead this organization, especially at this time.”

As reported by Y-City News in June, the library system installed Plexi-glass at customer service desks and signage, along with floor markings, strategically placed to encourage social distancing.

One of the changes, as Russell explained, was making additional resources available online for students who found themselves at home receiving online instruction.

Over the summer the branches slowly began to reopen and allowed patrons the ability to come back inside, while still offering additional services online.

Russell explained that her leadership team has procedures in place to continue offering services and resources should COVID-19 conditions continue to escalate and they are once again forced to close.

“That transition really is what made me realize I had the skills that I needed to succeed in the executive role here at the library,” Russell said. “It really just makes me proud that the board chose me to be the leader for this team.”