Buncombe selects Tenured Director to take over county’s library system

After a nationwide search, Buncombe County is excited to announce Jason Hyatt as the new Director of Public Libraries. The 13-branch system provides the community with invaluable resources, programming, digital catalogs, computer access, and more. “Jason demonstrated a deep knowledge and experience with leading a comparable public library system,” explains Assistant County Manager DK Wesley. “He also shared a strategic vision on how to position the library to provide innovative and equitable service that centers our diverse community.”

Hyatt comes to Buncombe County with nearly 20 years of public library experience, most recently serving as Executive Director for York County, South Carolina the past six years. “Folks in Buncombe County love their libraries. I know how important community support is for public service institutions, and that’s the first thing that attracted me to the position,” explains Hyatt. “I also looked at the programs and services that Buncombe County Public Libraries offers to its patrons and was blown away by the diversity of topics and creativity of the staff. I’ve always loved the mountains of North Carolina, and have wanted to make the Asheville area my home for several years.”

Hyatt earned his Master of Library and Information Studies from UNC Greensboro and a Master of Public Administration from UNC Chapel Hill. He says the first step is getting a lay of the land by meeting with staff and learning more about the community. “Community outreach has been a major part of my library background, and I am interested in ways the library can extend its reach to underserved populations,” notes Hyatt. “Long-term, I hope we can move forward with projects to revitalize our physical spaces. That could be a mix of renovation and new building projects. Most importantly, I want to make sure staff has the resources and support they need to keep doing amazing things for the people of Buncombe County.”

Wesley echoes that sentiment, noting that as the County’s growth continues, the library system will be vital infrastructure that helps meet a variety of community needs. “It is an exciting time to shore up and enhance our library system, which is beloved in our neighborhoods and critical for quality of life. Accordingly, the Library Director is critical in achieving success,” says Wesley.

Hyatt is scheduled to start with the County on Jan. 30, 2023.

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