Gillard assumes reins of county library system

David Peck

Collaboration and teamwork are the watchwords of new Big Horn County Library System director Gail Gillard, who started her new position earlier this month.

Gillard, who moved to Lovell just over a year ago, has 14 years of library operations experience under her belt and hopes to bring the various branches of the county library system together as a cohesive team.

“I’m really excited about the position, because I love coaching people and working with a team,” she said. “I had 28 people on my team at Highlands Ranch (Colorado), and I love bringing the best out of people and taking coaching opportunities.”

Gillard’s position includes overseeing all of the libraries in Big Horn County located in Basin, Greybull, Lovell, Deaver and Frannie – hiring, working with the state, meeting with the county board, foundation board and friends groups and overseeing 13 employees.

“A lot of it is growing the staff and making it collaborative,” Gillard said of her goals. “I want them to be able to reach out to each other and work as one library system instead of individual entities so we can share resources and talents.”

Gillard said she would also like to see the libraries become more visible in the communities they serve, hoping to raise awareness of what the library has to offer.

She takes over from interim director Pat Crumrine. The previous director was Lisa Chestnut.

Gillard grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education with an emphasis in math and computer science at St. Cloud State University. She later took advanced course work in math at East Texas State University.

After college she moved to the Dallas area and taught seventh- and eighth-grade computers and math in the Dallas Independent School District for seven years, then worked as an educational consultant for four years. After starting her family she began substitute teaching, which gave Gillard her first experience working in a library.

She moved to Colorado and got a job at the library in Castle Rock with Douglas County Libraries as a shelver, then as a trainer and at a library call center answering customer questions. She moved to Highlands Ranch as a supervisor in the same library system, overall spending 14 years overall in the largest library system in Douglas County, which circulates more than 1 million books every year.

She moved to Lovell in August of 2021 to be closer to family and began substitute teaching in both School District One and District Two while getting involved in the library system.

“I do love the library,” she said.

She applied for the director position a few months ago and was hired in October. She assumed her position as director on Nov. 1.

“I would like to thank the county commissioners, the county library board, the foundation, the friends of the library and the community for all of their support over the years,” she said. “I look forward to what the future looks like for the county library system.”