Leigh Espey Selected to Lead Saline County Library

Benton, AR- Leigh Espey, a Saline County native has been selected to be the Director of the Saline County Library System (SCL) effective January 1, 2024. Espey was unanimously recommended for the position by the SCL Board of Trustees earlier this week following a two-month search process. She has been serving in an interim capacity as Library Director since October. 

Saline County Judge Matt Brumley endorsed the Board’s recommendation. “Leigh Espey has deep roots in Saline County and broad experience within the Saline County Library System,” said Brumley. “She’s demonstrated capability, professionalism and responsiveness during this interim period and is just the kind of leader we need to move our library forward,” said Brumley. 

Since joining the SCL in 2010, Espey has held a number of supervisory and leadership positions, including: Library Manager, Manager of the Bryant Branch, Public Services Manager, Collection Maintenance Coordinator, Children’s Programmer, Children’s Library Assistant, and Part-Time Children’s Library Assistant.

“I’m pleased for this opportunity to lead this great library,” said Espey. “It’s an incredible resource and I am looking forward to working with our staff and the community to make it even better.”

Marian Douglas, chair of the library’s Board of Trustees said Espey was selected from a pool of applications received “literally from coast to coast.” “We considered 11 applications, narrowed our focus to five and conducted in-depth interviews with three applicants,” said Douglas. “As we moved through the process it became clear to each of us on the Board that Leigh Espey is especially qualified and well-suited to serve as the director of the library.” 

Brumley commended the library staff for its performance during the interim period. “They’ve maintained their focus on their mission to serve,” said Brumley. “I admire and appreciate their commitment to the library and the people of Saline County. I also appreciate the work of the board and its deliberative and collaborative approach in this process.” 

Espey is a graduate of Bauxite High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia and a Master of Library Science degree from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas. 

The SCL has branches in Benton and Bryant and will open a third branch in East End in early 2024. The Bob Herzfeld Memorial Library is located at 1800 Smithers Drive in Benton and the Mabel Boswell Memorial Library is located at 201 Prickett Road in Bryant. The East End Branch will be located at 24005 Arch Street.