The Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees has selected three finalists in its national search for a new city library director. The candidates are Aaron Bluitt, managing librarian of the Austin (Texas) Public Library; Sandra (Sandi) Vick Lee, interim director of the Birmingham Public Library; and Lambert C. Shell, director of Roosevelt Public Library in Roosevelt, N.Y.
The board will interview the three finalists at the Central Library on Tuesday, March 14. A meet-and-greet reception introducing the public and city officials to the three finalists will take place on Monday, March 13, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in the Atrium of the Central Library.
Aaron Bluitt has a wealth of experience providing excellent leadership and customer service in the management and administration of library services, programs, personnel, and facilities. He has held positions at Duke University, the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, San Antonio Community College, Dallas Public Library, Austin Public Library, Oklahoma Metropolitan Library, and the Hawaii State Public Libraries.
Before going into the library field, Bluitt spent several years in the business arena, holding positions in management, customer service, and marketing for several Fortune 100 corporations. He holds a B.A. from the University of Houston. He also earned a Master of Library Science from the University of North Texas and a Juris Doctorate degree from St. Mary's University. A native of Dallas, Bluitt lives in Austin with his family.
Sandi Lee has spent 23 years with the BPL system, including nearly a year as interim director. She manages daily operations of the 19-library system. Lee began her career as a storyteller in the Children’s Department at the Springville Road Regional Branch Library. After obtaining her Master’s Degree in Library and Information Studies, Lee advanced to the Central Library as the Children’s Department Head and the Public Services Coordinator. She has also served as the Eastern Region and Adult Services Coordinator before being named Deputy Director in the fall of 2015.
Lee received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama. She serves on the Executive Council for The Public Libraries in Jefferson County and on the Board of the Birmingham Public Library Friends Foundation. A native of Birmingham, Lee and her family reside in Jasper, Alabama.
Lambert Shell is the director of the Roosevelt Public Library. He is responsible for library operations, development, and implementation of its service program. Shell’s library career began as the Youth Counselor for the Queens Borough Public Library, where he also served as Coordinator of Youth Enrichment Service, Director of Programs and Services.
At Queens Borough Public Library, Shell oversaw afterschool homework help and enrichment programs for 2,000 youth a day across Queens County. He also led a Youth Empowerment program which provided at-risk youth in 10 libraries with youth counselors, social workers, specialized programs, homework help, and more.
Shell holds a B.A. and Master of Science in Education from the University of Bridgeport, and obtained a Master Science in Library and Information Science from Long Island University at Post in Brookville, NY. Shell holds a Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, Conn. Shell and his family reside in Jamaica, N.Y.