John Jackson Named Director of Campbell County Public Library System

Dec 22, 2023

Portrait

John Jackson

John Jackson joined the Campbell County Public Library System on November 1 as its Executive Director. John comes to Gillette from the Foley Public Library in Alabama, where he was director for 10 years. While he was there, the library initiated the first series of large events for the library, expanded the summer reading program, expanded the collection by over 14,000 titles, and expanded the computer lab and the availability of library resources to include 65 Wi-Fi hotspots. “We garnered top ten national honors from the Library Journal for 8 of the 10 years I was there,” John said.

John has a master’s degree in library science from the University of Alabama and a master’s degree in history from Jacksonville State University. He completed doctoral work on a degree in history at Auburn University as well, completing all but his dissertation. John taught history for nineteen years at junior colleges throughout Alabama and Georgia and also taught in the Supplemental Education program at Auburn University. He was the director of the Baldwin County, Alabama, Department of Archives and History from 2005 to 2013 and was the first county archivist, building the archives structure as well as a 600-acre historical park during his directorship. John’s tenure as the director of the Foley Public Library spanned from 2013 to 2023.

“I have wanted to move to Wyoming for quite some time because of the state’s beauty and wide-open spaces,” said John. Several other factors influenced his decision to accept the directorship in Gillette, including the crowded Alabama Gulf Coast, a desire to solve the issues concerning the content of children’s and YA books, serendipitous timing, and a best friend and his family in Cheyenne.

John has been impressed by the staff of the Campbell County Library System. He describes the CCPLS staff as professionals who love their jobs and are resilient and dedicated to their community. “They have been very accepting of me and have gone out of their way to make me comfortable in my position here. I am very impressed with their work ethic, their professional knowledge, and their understanding of the overall library mission,” he stated.

John says the people of Campbell County have been friendly and have made his transition easy. He said, “I felt like I belonged from the beginning, despite coming from such a long distance away. The people here have made my transition easy and have underscored my love of the West.”

Regarding his directorial goals, John would like to bring the community together after the recent two years of stress and disagreement about the content of YA and children’s literature. “My hope is to heal wounds by enforcing Library Board policy and moving beyond the heated debate to make much-needed structural improvements to both the main facility in Gillette and the branch in Wright,” he explained. A long-term plan for personnel and capital improvements are among his goals for the next five years. The physical aspects of the two library sites will be updated for structural stability, and the outreach of the Children’s Department will be a priority, as well as ramping up the types of activities and events offered to the public.

John feels very fortunate to be in Campbell County, among wonderful staff and beautiful country. According to John, this is his “last stop” in his work life, and he looks forward to the satisfaction of accomplishing the CCPLS’s goals for the community and exploring the magnificence of Wyoming. He wakes up most mornings thinking, “”Wow, I’m really in Wyoming!”

If you have a question about this or any other article, please contact us at statelibrary@wyo.gov

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