The City of Norwalk is pleased to announce that Sherelle Harris has been named Director of the Norwalk Public Library System. Harris previously served as Assistant Director, and has been serving as the Interim Director over the last several months. She was officially hired into the role on April 26.
“Sherelle knows the Library system and the staff and has a special connection to our residents. She is a leader, role model, and community advocate, and I know she is going to do wonderfully in this position,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling. “This was a competitive process and Sherelle stood out from a crowded field. She has the experience, expertise, collaborative attitude and deep understanding of Norwalk that will help her be successful. Under her leadership, I know the Norwalk Public Library is in good hands and will keep moving in the right direction.”
Harris has worked with the Norwalk Library system since 1997, having served as Manager of Children’s Services and then Assistant Director. Under her leadership, a STEM after-school program and Girls Who Code program were introduced at the Library. She was instrumental in overseeing renovations to the Library Community Room and Teen Room in recent years. Harris received the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dorothy Height “Living with a Purpose” Award in 2017 and the Calvary Baptist Church Community Service Award in 2019. She is a member of the American Library Association, Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and Connecticut Library Association.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Harris has been a key stakeholder and partner, thinking outside the box to deliver library services through creative means, such as new Sidewalk Service and providing hand-selected book recommendations to residents. Over the last year, demand for library services increased significantly, with more than 12,000 new library cards requested in Norwalk.
“I understand the community and I will never lose sight that the Norwalk Public Library is here to serve all. I hope to bring new programs and innovative classes that will appeal to all ages and interests. My dedication and enthusiasm for the Norwalk Public Library and the community we serve is boundless,” Harris said. “I am humbled by this promotion and the support that has been given to me. I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue serving Norwalk on another level.”
With this promotion, Harris is also setting a first, as she has become the first Black person to serve as Director of the Norwalk Library System. The Black Caucus of the American Library Association and Black Caucus American Library Association--CT Affiliate offered its congratulations to Harris on becoming Library Director.
“What a triumphant day. Sherelle Harris has broken the barrier and is the first ever Black Director of the Norwalk Public Library system. Ms. Harris is a seasoned professional, promoting the library as an educational, cultural, and community resource. We know she will address Norwalk’s community needs and wants. Congratulations to her on behalf of The Black Caucus of the American Library Association,” said Shauntee Burns-Simpson, President.
“Sherelle Harris is an excellent selection as Director of the Norwalk Public Library system. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position, and she will be an asset to the City of Norwalk. I look forward to working with her,” said Robert Kinney, President, Black Caucus American Library Association--CT Affiliate.
The Norwalk Public Library Board of Directors is appointed by Mayor Rilling, the First Taxing District, and the Second Taxing District. The Board creates rules and regulations for the library, develops a budget, and guides the Library’s strategic plan. Members of the Board interviewed candidates before recommending several finalists to Mayor Rilling.
“The Norwalk Library is extremely fortunate to have Sherelle Harris as our new Director because she combines in a unique manner a close connection to Norwalk’s diverse community of library customers with a decade-long managerial experience in operating the SoNo Branch Library,” said Alex Knopp, President of the Library Board of Directors. “The Library Board strongly supports promoting a new Director from within the ranks of the current library staff. We look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with Sherelle and commend Mayor Rilling for his selection.”
For more information on the Norwalk Public Library and its services, visit norwalkpl.org.