Thursday, December 10, 2015

Library Board chooses Nate Coulter as next director

Posted By on Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 1:56 PM

click to enlarge NATE COULTER
Little Rock lawyer Nate Coulter has been selected to succeed Bobby Roberts as director of the Central Arkansas Library System.

The Board of Directors made the decision at a midday meeting today. He and Haley Lagasse, the system's head of public services, were finalists. No terms of his hiring were announced. Roberts' retirement date will be March 4. He had announced plans to retire in February.

From a release:

Selection/Transition Committee chair Fred Ursery said, "After a nation-wide search, the Selection/Transition Committee reviewed the numerous applications for the position, interviewed four of the applicants, and presented to the Board the two applicants it felt were most qualified for the position. The Board members met the applicants at a public reception and received a number of comments from the general public, library patrons, and the staff. At our December board meeting the board members discussed the applicants. The board felt that both applicants were highly qualified, but after discussion agreed upon Nate Coulter as the successor to Dr. Bobby Roberts."

Coulter responded by saying, "I am humbled and honored by the Board's decision, and grateful to them for entrusting me with this responsibility. Thanks to the leadership and vision of Bobby Roberts, and the dedication of his staff and board, the Central Arkansas Library System has become a very respected and cherished part of our community. I'm mindful of the challenge of aspiring to the level of energy, innovation, and class Bobby has demonstrated, but I'm eagerly anticipating the opportunity to help lead CALS to even greater heights."

Coulter is of counsel with Millar Jiles, PLLC, and was previously partner in the law firms of Wilson, Engstrom, Corum & Coulter, and Wright, Lindsey & Jennings. Coulter has served on the CALS Board of Trustees, CALS Foundation Board, and in various volunteer capacities for CALS. He's also been a political candidate, narrowly losing a race for lieutenant governor to Mike Huckabee in 1993 and also making an unsuccessful race later for U.S. Senate against Blanche Lincoln in 1998. 

Coulter will have to acquire a degree in library science as a condition of his hiring.

The directorship of the library under Roberts has been a blend of traditional library management with politicking that has seen the library win several millage elections that financed a building program that has expanded branches and materials and undergirded a variety of research, publishing and even entertainment ventures at the system's base in the River Market. Roberts' idea to renovate a former warehouse building for the main library — now joined by an assortment of renovated and new buildings, including a new building and parking facility under construction — made the library an important anchor of the burgeoning River Market district.

Coulter, 56, is a native of Nashville, Ark., and a graduate of Harvard University and the Harvard Law School.

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