Tony Tallent

  Maximize with Meaning   Ÿ    Ÿ


A dedicated library leader who has worked for well over two decades crafting and implementing high-impact initiatives, services and programs supporting inspired visionary library customer experiences. A community-minded professional, seasoned writer and communicator who has written both for the library field as well for other publications and platforms. A strong supporter of the human element of libraries with an empowering management style and a reputation for advocating for new, inventive methods of learning, growth and outreach fitting with current learning and engagement concepts.

Selected Presentations

  • Going Digital with Library Programs; 2020
  • Innovation: From Ideas to Action; 2019
  • The Library: Your Community Studio, Field Presentation and Workshop, Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit 2019
  • Beyond the Library Walls: Expressing the Library in New Ways, co-presenter; 2018
  • Reinventing Reading; OCLC Baltimore Regional Summit 2017
  • Pop-Up Libraries on A Shoestring, co-presenter; ALA Annual Conference 2017
  • Libraries: The Space to Be; ALA Annual Conference 2016
  • Intertwining: Reading, Writing and Living Well; Richland Library 2016
  • The Library: New Realities, Now; Biblioteca Di Amicis, Genoa, Italy 2016
  • The Artful Library; ALA Annual Conference 2015
  • Innovation Playshop: Preconference Presentation and Workshop, co-presenter; Computers in Libraries Conference, 2012
  • Get the Picture/Let the Picture Get You: Using Images in Presentations; ALA Annual Conference
  • The eBook Landscape; South Carolina Book Festival, 2011
  • The Future of Library User Experience; Co-presenter, 2009
  • Bundle It. Blend It. Innovate It.; Hawaiian Library Association Conference, 2009
  • Pulse Points: The Library in Action; Hawaiian Library Association Conference, 2009
  • Innovation (Still) Starts with ‘I”; Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries Conference 2008
  • Innovation Starts with ‘I’; co-presenter; Computers in Libraries Conference 2008

Selected Professional and Literary Publications

  • Fun Precedes Function: Fostering a Creative Workplace in the Public Library: Urban Library Journal, 2008
  • Library 2.0—Let the Kids (and Kids’ Staff) Play Too: ALSConnect, 2008
  • Snap! Futureproofing Your Library: Library Journal, 2008
  • Setting Stories Free with Short Story Dispensers: Jasper Magazine, 2019
  • The Ache of Beekeeping: Fall Lines, 2014
  • Overflow: Seeking Its Own Level, Mote Books, 2014
  • Provisions: Blue Fifth Review, 2015
  • Peppers: Revolution John Magazine, 2015
  • Fallen Birds: Vestal Review, 2017
  • Property Lines: Kakalak, 2018
  • There Are Other Ghost Stories: The Manhattanville Review 2019
  • A Dog Can Change Everything: Gone Dogs, Thomas Woodland Publishing, 2019

Professional Experience

Chief Program and Innovation Officer, Richland Library, Columbia, SC; 10/2010 – present

Notable Projects and Successes

  • Digital Strategy: Crafted and implemented a Digital Content and Program Strategic Plan that has supported successful translation of programs and services to digital platforms
  • Fine-Free Initiative: Lead the effort to remove all fines from library materials, creating greater access and equity
  • Home•Spot Program: Conceptualized and implemented this program that brought internet service to 26 public housing communities
  • Set Stories Free Initiative: Lead this effort to deploy inventive short story dispensers throughout the community; crafted a marketing campaign for the project to amplify its reach; the campaign was adopted on a national level.
  • The National Medal: Co-wrote the application that resulted in Richland Library being awarded the National Medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2017
  • The LIT Room: A key collaborator in this research partnership funded by the National Science Foundation that enabled the construction of an architectural-robotics embedded space within the library to study the efficacy of environmental and sensory stimulation on literacy in youth
  • eReady Initiative: Established this effort to boost learning with digital content and devices among both staff and public
  • Community Outreach: Developed and lead this department to focus on services to vulnerable and marginalized communities
  • Career Online High School: Orchestrated the funding and implementation of this program allowing adult students to work to earn accredited high school diplomas; Within 14 months, 15 students graduated the program
  • Social Awareness Taskforce: Strategized and co-managed this award-winning effort to heighten awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion issues within the workforce as well as communities
  • The Gallery at Main: Established a high-quality gallery that was freely accessible to all and inspired growth of the library’s art-oriented efforts
  • Fall Lines: A Literary Convergence: Co-founded this literary journal, one of the only independently published journals of its type in the Carolinas, now in its sixth volume
  • Project Summer Stride: Envisioned this grant-funded program that brought new format summer programs to youth and tested the library’s ability to quantitatively combat summer learning loss

Bring innovative thinking and creativity through all library channels; Serve as a key member of the Richland Library Executive Leadership Team to direct multiple facets of the library system; direct strategies and activities of a distinctive Staff Development and Engagement department that provides learning and support for staff across the library system; Direct the efforts of marketing and digital strategy, including the library’s website and social media in order to strengthen and support the library user experience across multiple platforms; Guide the efforts, growth and ingenuity of collection development, with oversight of a current collections budget of $3.7 million; Direct the efforts of the Programs and Partnerships department to ensure the library fulfills the information and learning needs of the community and strengthens its positive impact through organizational partnerships; Collaborate with key departments, including Human Resources, Development, Finance and Branch Services; Create job descriptions, hire, coach and mentor staff; Work with Richland Library Friends and Foundation and to support program expansion; Partner with academic and education organizations to fulfill grant and research-related projects; Evaluate, investigate and implement new services and service delivery models that enhance the library’s appeal and usefulness; Assess the quality and impact of programs and services through goal setting, evaluations and analytics; Maintain relationships with library vendors and third-party service suppliers;; Facilitate community and staff meetings and gatherings; Serve on community boards, taskforces and teams; Represent the library at local, regional and national workshops, conferences and events; Established a Community Outreach Department to support underserved segments of the county; Managed project team to conceptual and create the first full-service, interactive Teen Services Room and department; Conceptualized and supported implementation of successful grant programs, including a multi-year family engagement grant project.

Director of Libraries & Arts, City of Boulder, Colorado; 7/2008 – 7/2010

Notable Projects and Successes

  • Library Innovation and Technology: Realigned resources and services to create a new approach to technology and digital services that focused on innovation, expanding interest and support digital products and services
  • Pulse Points: An orchestrated effort to create exposure to resources and moments of discovery while building creative wayfinding within the facility
  • Community Literacy and Engagement: Lead this strategic refocusing of staff and resources to broaden the library’s reach and impact beyond its facilities
  • Public Art: In collaboration with the Arts Commission and key staff, established a public arts program in the downtown area of Boulder, Colorado
  • The Library Alive: Orchestrated this community-based marketing and promotional strategy that supported the rebranding of the Boulder Public Library
  • The Learning Alliance: Established this effort to encourage and support collaborative learning across divisions and departments
  • The Canyon Gallery and Theater: refurbished these spaces to allow more freely accessible arts and cultural experiences

Directed the operations of the Boulder Public Library system; Evaluated the effectiveness of library services and programs to meet the specific needs of the community; Managed the library budget to ensure the most effective and appropriate use; Coordinated resources, public process and staffing to effectively address City Council in tandem with library initiatives; Crafted visionary goals and strategies to strengthen the library’s approach to service; Facilitated a staff reorganization to maximize resources and talents to support organizational success; Established library branding, marketing and communication standards; Established new methods and measures for staff development; Updated materials lending procedures and guidelines, resulting in increased interest and usage of both book and electronic collections; Established Library Innovation and Technology Department to ensure the library was fully utilizing current and useful technologies to deliver information services in relevant and customer-focused manners; Monitored facility and maintenance needs in order to maximize real estate assets, making improvements in all facilities; Worked with the Library Foundation to secure funding for programs and new services; Served as liaison to the Library Commission; Advised City Manager and served on the City Directors’ Leadership Team; Collaborated with City Arts Commission and staff to synthesize efforts and to maximize impact of arts programming and support city-wide; Served as a member of the Colorado Library Directors’ Association.

Director of Youth & Outreach Services, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (CML); 3/2007-7/2008

Notable Projects and Successes

  • Tricycle Music Festival: Founded this incredibly popular music festival that featured numerous bands, including high-profile acts such as They Might Be Giants and Dan Zanes. The Tricycle Music Festival is entering its thirteenth year and is now shepherded by the San Francisco Public Library
  • Drop Everything and Learn (DEAL!): Conceived and implemented this staff learning program that encouraged staff to stay curious and inspired as they learn, and, ultimately, spiral the learning out into the community
  • Paint the Town Read: Lead this county-wide community literacy awareness initiative that was based in community engagement tenets and included new format programs both in real life and on digital platforms
  • Tech-Know-How Initiative: This effort was born out of a desire to advance the technology and digital learning of youth-serving staff across the system; Tech-Know-How provided a portable animation and moving-making station for staff as well as a mobile computer lab
  • Circle of Knowledge: Crafted and implemented this grant program that encouraged and celebrated new formats of learning and forged a partnership between Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and New York Public Library
  • Senior Adult Services: Expanded outreach programs to the Senior Adult community, including materials delivery services, program kits and technology training
  • Project 2010: Served as a key leader in this project focused on identifying service growth opportunities and a reorganization of essential components of the CML system

Directed the development and implementation of high-impact programs and services throughout Mecklenburg County in the field of youth services, family engagement and community outreach; Established methods for addressing the needs of underserved segments of the community including senior adults, new immigrants and low income segments of the county; Oversight of a 10+person central office support staff; Maximized the availability and usage of resources throughout the 20+ location library system; Coordinated program efforts with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System; Lead integration of new technologies into program and service offering in library facilities as well as outreach locations; Created initiatives to attract new library users; Sought and implemented grants; Established mechanisms for both internal and external communications; Managed a budget that supported system-wide youth and outreach services; Integrated and harmonized staff efforts that included, at the time, 98 staff members designated as youth liaisons; Maintained local, regional and national representation and partnerships to support the library. Project-based work included the Reorganization Team for the library system and conceiving the library’s first programmatic mobile unit.

Other Relevant Roles

Children’s Services Library Manager, South County Regional Library, CML; 4/06-3/07

  • Managed the services and programs to youth and families at CML’s highest performing branch, South County Regional
  • Developed partnerships and programs with local youth serving agencies and organizations serving the community in a broader capacity
  • Advanced activities and programs for volunteer services within the department
  • Served on the Web Services Advisory team for content and expansion
  • Liaison for the organization’s strategic marketing team

Partnership & Facility Manager, ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center; 2/05-4/06

  • Previous to stepping into this role, spent over five years building collaborative programs and development efforts, established marketing collateral and served as the program and partnership lead as the102,000 square foot facility was being built
  • Established operations leading to the opening of ImaginOn, a one-of-a-kind hybrid library-theater facility in downtown Charlotte
  • Crafted policies and procedures for this unique facility
  • Directed the development of the Web presence for ImaginOn
  • Designed new staff descriptions and roles
  • Lead the integration of efforts between the two primary partners, the Public Library and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte
  • Represented the interests of both partners through the ImaginOn Steering Committee
  • Lead efforts for all grand opening events for the facility, including a public grand opening of more than 8,000 visitors
  • Managed co-funded program and administrative budget

Other Relevant Projects and Successes

  • Smart Connections: A large-scale IMLS-funded project that built collaborative efforts between the library, the Mint Museum of Art and other community art agencies
  • Novello Festival of Reading: Coordinated adult, young adult and all youth and family-related components of CML’s acclaimed Novello Festival of Reading
  • Website Experience: Developed content for and collaborated on several award-winning library websites, including org, and
  • Project InterAct: Conceptualized and implemented this multiple-year grant project that encouraged exploration of literature and theatre
  • Teen Services: Championed the development CML’s approach to teen services, including development of teen advisory councils
  • Gallery L: As Arts and Program Coordinator, established exhibitions and related programs that resulted in Gallery L, an accessible, curated gallery
  • Original Book Illustration Collection: Selected, acquired and maintained a large original book illustration collection for Charlotte Mecklenburg Library; collaborated with the Mint Museum of Art to feature selected pieces in an exhibition at the museum
  • Commissioned Art: Collaborated with award-winning illustrators to create original art to showcase library vision and program efforts
  • Intergenerational Programs: Conceived and implemented a grant that created program opportunities to encourage collaboration between elementary school students and residents of Senior Adult Communities


Master of Library and Information Science, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Bachelor of Arts, English/Education, Western Carolina UniversityCertificate in Nonprofit

Management, Duke University Office of Continuing Studies

Other Projects and Coursework

The Safe Place Initiative, 2019 – present

Diverse Books for Families Project, 2017-2018

The Necessary Library Project; Genoa, Italy 2016

The Library Nurse Program; 2014

Leading Others in Writing for Health; Duke Integrative Medicine, 2019

Leadership Architect 101 Certification, 2010

Certificate in Nonprofit Management, Duke University Office of Continuing Studies

Table Rock Writers’ Workshop, 2012-Present

Duke Writers’ Workshop 2006-2008

Writing Fiction, Queen’s University, 2001

School of Filmmaking, University of North Carolina, School of Arts, 1995-1996

Honors and Recognitions

Urban Library Council’s Joey Rodgers Leadership Award, 2011

Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers Award, 2008

Library Advocate of the Year Award, Friends of SC Libraries, 2014

3M/PLA Leadership Development Institute, 2008

Hamner Scholarship, Lincoln Memorial University, 2013

National Association of Counties Achievement Award, 2004

Director’s Award, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, 2000

Carla Dupuy Scholarship for Graduate Study, 1999

NC Teaching Fellow Scholarship, 1989

Professional Associations and Affiliations

American Library Association, Member

Library Leadership & Management Association, Member

Intellectual Freedom Roundtable, Member

Association of Library Services to Children, Member

Public Library Association, Member

NewsGuard News Literacy Board, Member

Race, Equity and Inclusion Collaborative, Member

North Carolina Writers’ Network, Member

Trustus Theatre, Board Member, 9/2018-9/2019