Name: Brian Hildreth

Describe your current position: Executive Director at the Southern Tier Library System.
Educational Background:  B.S. in Marketing & Human Resource Management at Florida Atlantic University & Masters in Library Science & Information Studies at Syracuse University.
What is most interesting about your current position?  Human engagement and relationship building! It is at the core of what I do. Every director, librarian, trustee and volunteer is different. My job is to understand and empathize with their unique situation. And then determine the most sustainable path forward using the right resources.
What has been your biggest professional challenge?  Leveraging local funding for rural libraries. We have gotten fairly good at this, but it has been a process of trial and error. Fortunately, the results have been successful to date. It is ongoing and important work. Our region can't afford to not invest in libraries.
What was your background before becoming a librarian?  I grew up in retail, and I thought this was my path in life. My father owned and operated an independent grocery store. I wanted to do something similar. I am glad my first job in college was work study in an academic library.
What would you be doing if you weren't a librarian?  I would rather not think of doing anything else in my life.
What is the most interesting issue in librarianship today?  It's an unfair question. There are so many interesting and important issues in our field. And they are all equal. This is why librarianship is so amazing!
What are you most proud of?  Working with community members to restore and reopen a 300 seat auditorium that is part of the David A. Howe Public Library. It was closed for seven years as a result of marginal funding and neglect. The facility has been reopened for almost a decade now and serves as a vital resource for the Wellsville community.
What other organizations are you involved with?  The New York Library Association has been a solid pillar for my career. I have been actively involved in various sections, committees and rountables since 2010. My favorite year was serving on NYLA Council as president of the Public Libraries Section.
What advice would you give to a new librarian?  Do transformational work, not transactional! Every job has the day to day stuff that just needs to get done. You need to push yourself beyond that and make sure your approach to librarianship is project-based. Be certain you are always owning a project that you believe in and will have life-changing results. Get out of your comfort zone regularly. It makes the journey more interesting!
What software/web tools do you use regularly?  Anything that allows me to look at data. My job is rooted into the "big picture". Data helps me think strategically about our organization's approaches.
Favorite social media platform:  Facebook for personal/professional entertainment. Twitter for professional development.
Favorite blog or website:  SCRLC News rocks!
What do you do to relax?  I like to stay physically active. It helps me mentally. Brazilian jiu jitsu and running are my current relaxation techniques.
What is the most daring thing you've ever done?  I had a close encounter run-in with a black bear in the Adirondack High Peaks during a backpacking excursion. It was more scary than daring. I still have much respect for that bear today.
What would you like to learn?  Yoga and meditation. I try meditation, but I can never turn my mind off. I am constantly thinking. And I am just really bad at yoga. My wife is good at both. There is much I can learn from her.
Is there anything about you that others would be surprised to know? I was a terrible student in high school. I think I only graduated because some of my teachers took a liking to me. It wasn't until college that I realized learning was fun. I did well in undergrad and grad school. Quite honestly, spending so much time in the library is what turned my learning ways around. This might be why I love libraries so much!

Thank you Brian!
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