Brad Sayre is the IT Director of Stark Library. Here, he shares what his job entails, his favorite things about the Stark Library, and what he’s read recently.
Q. I understand that you are the IT director of the Stark Library. Can you tell me what your job is about?
A. I advise on the strategic direction of the library district’s technology infrastructure and provide oversight and management of my department’s project and customer service (colleague) activities.
Examples of my focus areas would include patron service point technology, such as self-checkout machines or photocopiers, computers used by both library staff and patrons, internet connectivity and branch network and server architecture. All of this is a fancy way of saying that I spend the majority of my waking or thinking moments in meetings, and then rely heavily on the expertise of the most capable IT team I’ve ever had. opportunity to lead.
Q. How did you come to work at library in your current position?
A. I started my IT career in 2003 as a network engineer consulting with many different clients in the Cleveland and Columbus area, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I moved into department management in 2006 and have since held department or corporate management positions for a small number of organizations in a wide range of industries. Most notably, I spent seven years as CTO for a large local player in the retail industry.
Coming from the private sector, what intrigued me most about the library was their ambitious technology investment. When I arrived in early 2018, we were driving customer service solutions rooted in robotics and automation, self-service product delivery, and RFID inventory management. These are all exciting areas with many familiarities to my background in supply chain logistics and distribution. Many of these pilots remain permanent additions to our service offerings in the form of 24/7 pick-up lockers, RFID self-service checkouts, and many other digital platforms that elevate, enrich or simply provide simple convenience to our customers.
Q. If you could say On readers one thing about Stark Library, what would you like them to know?
A. Everyone in the organization cares deeply about the communities in which we live and serve. We truly live our vision statement to “be a trusted guide in the community – to invite, inspire and empower all to pursue creativity and lifelong learning”. All our decisions are rooted in these aspirations. They are woven into our organizational culture and into the heart and soul of every employee.
The most poignant and impactful example of this for me personally has been the divergence from the concept of profitability. I have been fortunate to work for employers who genuinely have the best interests of their employees in mind and strive to engage in customer service or common business practices that are ethical and decent.
It may seem trite or obvious, but it’s a completely different and refreshing dynamic to work in an environment where profitability is not just replaced as a key decision-making factor, but removed entirely from the goal-setting structure and cultural mindset at all levels of the organization. Replacing the concept of profitability with those of financial stewardship and fiscal responsibility is one example among many that enable and invoke a shift in focus from attention within the organization itself to considerations outward and toward our duty to enrich Stark County, our local communities, and even individual households in our service area and beyond.
Q. What is your favorite thing about the library?
A. As a staff member and patron, it’s just an amazing thing to be a part of. A misconception I had as an adult and business professional is that the “library” is just a building. I learned that library and librarianship is a philosophy. It is a way of life that promotes and supports equal, equitable and confidential access to knowledge, history and all kinds of educational or recreational resources. It really elevates the library from a warehouse or structural landmark to something everyone should want to be proud of.
Q. Please share any other details about your work or the Stark Library that you would like On readers to know.
A. There are always many exciting things happening in our department, which lead to constant improvements or additions to library services. Because we are involved in library infrastructure and internal customer service for staff, we do not interact directly with members of our patronage very often. However, all of our plans are aimed at providing more convenience, better access, better privacy and security, and an ever-improving experience for everyone who walks through our doors or browses our website, staff or otherwise.
In Brad’s Library
What are you currently reading?
I’m the kind of reader who has six bookmarks in the middle of very different books ranging from the ergodic horror of The “House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski to heavy reading such as “Two Treatises of Government” by John Locke.
Have you ever read a book that changed your life or your opinions on a specific topic?
Absoutely. My parents were both chemical engineers. Very analytical. One is an atheist and the other a devout Christian. I read a lot of philosophy, cosmological physics and apologetics. My view of the world is constantly being torn down and rebuilt. One book in particular that blew my mind was “Genesis and the Big Bang” by Gerald Schroeder.
What’s your guilty pleasure book?
“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte. When I stop punishing myself with philosophy and science, I escape to poetry and classical romance. I quote lines from this book to my wife on occasion.
Do you have a holiday reference book?
Whichever of the half-dozen unfinished books my hand falls on. I try to aim fiction Where poetry to keep things light, but I don’t often read books twice, no matter how good they are.
What’s your favorite book twist?
“Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card. The whole ending took me by surprise.
What’s the last book that made you cry?
I don’t read a lot of books that invoke that kind of emotion, but I couldn’t keep track when I was reading. “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck.
We’ve teamed up with Stark Library to bring you a fun monthly feature, highlighting all things books and reading, as well as insider looks at the library itself. This content is sponsored by Stark Library. To learn more about the library, visit StarkLibrary.org.