Jeff Winkle, director of the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library, submitted his retirement, effective Jan. 11, 2020, to the board of trustees at their Tuesday meeting.
The trustees named Sarah Clevidence, the current assistant director, as the next library director.
“It was a privilege to work with the library staff to serve the residents of our county-wide community,” said Winkle in a news release. “This is a wonderful group of hardworking, dedicated people. Under Sarah’s leadership, I know the staff and library will flourish.”
“It has been a blessing to spend 40 years advocating for books in a city and county that embraces the importance of literacy,” he said.
This summer, Winkle was named 2019 Librarian of the Year by the Ohio Library Council.
Winkle joined the library in 1999, serving as extension services manager and then assistant director. He left the library in 2005 for brief stints as director of the public libraries in Fostoria and Tiffin before returning to Findlay as library director in 2009. Prior to his library career, he owned and operated Winkle’s Open Book, a local bookstore, for 20 years.
During Winkle’s tenure, the library increased its focus on early literacy, career development resources and assistance, and a strong customer service culture. Since 2011, the library added an Early Literacy Center, created a Story Walk in Riverside Park, increased the children’s book collections and started the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.
Winkle has served on multiple local and statewide boards, including terms as president of Findlay Rotary Club, Hancock Literacy, Ohio Library Council and the Van Buren School Board.
Clevidence has served at the library since 1996, starting while in high school at an entry-level page position. She has worked in media services, children’s services and adult services departments, as well as in library administration. She has a bachelor of science degree in economics from Bowling Green State University and a master of library and information science degree from Kent State University.
Clevidence has been active with the Ohio Library Council. She has served as the chairwoman for various committees and events and was recently elected to the organization’s board of directors for a three-year term beginning in January 2020. In 2016, Clevidence was awarded the Ohio Library Council’s Diana Vescelius Emerging Leader Award.
“I love our library and I believe the services we provide every day are important and can be life changing,” she said. “We have a dedicated board of trustees, a tremendous staff and a wonderful community. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with all of them as we build the future of the library.”
Clevidence is the recently elected president of the Findlay Kiwanis Club and is a member of the Hancock Literacy Board of Directors. She is a 2016 graduate of Hancock Leadership.