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Library director to take job in Queens ; Quinn-Carey to join much larger system

Bridget Quinn-Carey's new job amounts to a big promotion -- she will be chief operating officer of Queens Library in New York City.

It also will mark a return to the borough where she earned her degree in library science.

Queens Library made the announcement Wednesday, a day after Quinn-Carey said she would leave as director of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library when her three-year contract endsMarch 4.

Quinn-Carey, who was recruited for her new job, will leave behind a cash-strapped library system with a $4 million budget gap being covered by a rainy day fund and facing stiff reductions in staff and services. She will join an institution named "Library of the Year" in 2009 by Library Journal magazine.

"Queens Library is one of the premier library systems in the world, known for the quality of its collections, innovative programs that serve a diverse community, world-class facilities and cutting-edge technology," said Thomas W. Galante, Queens Library's CEO.

"Ms. Quinn-Carey earned her master's degree in library science right here in St. John's University. I am pleased to welcome her back. I know that leveraging her skills, we will continue to enrich lives."

Quinn-Carey will start her new job April 15, filling a position that has been vacant since last July. The married mother of two plans to commute from her Buffalo-area home.

"I am thrilled to be joining the Queens Library as [chief operating officer]," she said in a statement. "I look forward to continuing the critical work of developing quality programming, collections and services for the Queens community, and to working with such an esteemed group of library professionals."

Queens Library serves2.2 million in a county that claims to be the most ethnically diverse in the United States.

In fiscal year 2008, it had 23 million items in circulation, nearly three times that of the Buffalo & Erie County system. Just three years ago, Quinn-Carey left the Essex Library Association in Essex, Conn., with a circulation of just 56,000 items.

The surprise announcement of her departure follows a much-publicized, four-month funding crisis, in which County Executive Chris Collins had proposed slicing $4 million out of the 37-branch system's budget despite record use.

Quinn-Carey declined Tuesday to discuss what role, if any, county politics may have played in her decision to leave.

She said the professional opportunity that presented itself was, in the end, too good to pass up.


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