New Carmel Clay Public Library director ready for bigger role

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By Mark Ambrogi

At 46, Bob Swanay figures he is right in the middle of his career.

Bob Swanay displays a 2014-15 Faith in the Future award from the Johnson City area Chamber of Commerce. (Submitted photo).

Bob Swanay displays a 2014-15 Faith in the Future award from the Johnson City area Chamber of Commerce. (Submitted photo).

So he figured it was a good time for a move. Swanay will start Nov. 7 as the Carmel Clay Public Library director.

Swanay has been at the Johnson City Public Library in Tennessee for 21 years, the last eight years as director.

“It’s an exciting opportunity,” Swanay said. “I’ve had a great experience at Johnson City Public Library. But I was ready to stretch myself professionally and ready to try out another library. I found Carmel to be a very good fit. I’m looking forward to learning the Carmel community and the greater Indianapolis area. I’ve lived in Tennessee my entire adult life. This is going to be a great experience for me and my wife, Donna.”

The Johnson City library is 42,000 square feet compared to 116,000 square feet at CCPL. His Johnson City library staff is 38, compared to approximately 110 at CCPL.

“It’s definitely a much bigger budget in Carmel,” Swanay said. “I’m definitely scaling up, and that’s part of the challenge for me I’m looking forward to. The Carmel Clay Public Library is one of the most beautiful libraries I’ve ever set foot in. My current library is no slouch in that regard, either, but the Carmel library is really exceptional. I’m going to really enjoy being there every day.”

Swanay said he is a firm believer the library should bring in speakers.

“I think the library is a natural community forum,” Swanay said. “I think the library is one of the better places in the community where we can have a civil discourse and exchange of ideas. There is still a role for public libraries  to help with information literacy. There is so much noise out there. Libraries have always had a role in helping people recognize legitimate sources.”

Swanay graduated from East Tennessee State in Johnson City with a bachelor of fine arts and received a masters of information science from the University of Tennessee.

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