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Daniel L. Walters is staying put.

The director of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library returned to work after losing out Monday to the Corvallis, Ore., head librarian for the post of Seattle library director.

Walters, who interviewed for the job because he is a Seattle native whose mother and four of his five children live there, said he plans to concentrate anew on strategic planning for the wide-ranging county library system.

"It was only because of the hometown aspects that I responded" to the Seattle opening, he said. "In many ways, the timing was unfortunate. It has been a distraction."

"But I'm very excited about the work we're doing in Buffalo," said Walters, 50, who arrived two years ago from Spokane with a mandate to prepare the unwieldy county system -- which in addition to the Central Library has more than 50 branches and contract libraries -- for the 21st century.

Under his guidance, the library is developing a five-year plan to bring "more-effective and meaningful service" to the city and county. Planning committees have been established, and an outside consultant has been hired.

"This library has the most extraordinary collection I've been around as a librarian," Walters said. "There is nothing like it in the West. San Francisco has something like it, but not as deep. Los Angeles has something like it, but again not as deep."

Walters said he frequently receives recruitment queries but is not interested in other jobs.

The Seattle Library Board chose Deborah Jacobs of Corvallis over Walters and Richard Killian, the Sacramento, Calif., head librarian, after a public selection process that included interviews with city officials, the Library Board and staff, and citizen groups.

The Seattle library is planning a major capital expansion, building a new central library and overhauling and automating its 22 branches.

Walters was director of the Spokane Public Library before he came East as the first outsider to head the Erie County library system since it was established in 1954.

In Washington, he secured more than $100 million in funding through bond issues and operating levies for the King County (suburban Seattle) and Spokane systems and introduced leading-edge technology to Spokane.

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