MANATEE COUNTY, FL (Dec. 22, 2016) – Ava Ehde, Manatee County's Library Services Manager since 2011, has been named interim director of Manatee County Neighborhood Services Department. The department includes Probation, Human, Veterans, Healthcare and Neighborhood services divisions and the Public Library System.
Former Neighborhood Services Director Cheri Coryea was recently confirmed as a Deputy County Administrator by Manatee County Commissioners.
Under Ehde’s leadership, Manatee Libraries has expanded its educational and technological resources and programs at its six locations, with over 1.9 million customers annually using resources. Library usage has soared 85 percent in 10 years. Ongoing technological training and computer assistance continue to reach residents, and more than 62,000 patrons attended informational and educational programs this year.
Also during Ehde's tenure as manager of the library system, Manatee County won the Florida Library Association’s 2013 Library Innovation Award and the 2016 Library of the Year. Ehde received the association’s Librarian of the Year for 2017.
Ehde’s 21-year career has encompassed public, academic and special libraries, beginning with Niagara Falls Public Library as a history librarian. She also supervised reference services in a college library and served as an adjunct professor for SUNY Buffalo’s Library School. Ehde moved to Florida in 2002, first serving as a reference librarian at Downtown Central Library. Soon she was promoted to supervise the Island Branch Library. She became manager of the library system in 2011.
Prior to her library career, Ehde worked many years in the Food and Beverage industry, owning her own restaurant at one point. She has since added elements of her private sector experience into library service, placing new emphasis on customer satisfaction, professional development, innovative programming and bold marketing/promotional efforts.
Kevin Beach, Library Operations Manager, described Ehde’s influence on Manatee Libraries as transformational.
“Ava has turned under-performing and outdated facilities into integral community centers by raising the awareness of the value of a modern library," Beach said. "She has energized the staff by engaging us in more outreach programs and partnerships and by adopting a proactive approach to helping identify the needs of the community."
Ehde hopes to bring a unique perspective to her role in Neighborhood Services, leading to new inter-departmental opportunities that will expand community reach.
“I think that my unique perspective, paired with past director Cheri Coryea’s knowledge of the Neighborhood Services Department’s role will result in comprehensive interdepartmental programs,” said Ehde. “Community Services might be able to use the library’s research databases or book meeting room space to plan a program to build awareness about the opioid crisis, or Aging Services could promote awareness for the library’s Books by Mail program.”
For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at www.mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/manatee.county.fl and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.