David Fausnaugh: Newly Appointed Oberlin Public Library Director


Courtesy Jason Hawk

David Fausnaugh

Earlier this month, David Fausnaugh was hired to serve as the Oberlin Public Library’s new director. He chose to relocate to Oberlin for a variety of reasons, including proximity to family and appreciation for the City’s espoused values.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How did your early experiences with reading and libraries influence your current career?

I grew up in Fremont, OH, and remember walking up the stairs at Birchard Public Library. It was an older library, and it felt like you could get lost in it. I really liked that feeling as a kid. Libraries are places where you can go visit the collection and dive into a new topic. There’s an excitement level that comes with finding new stories — that’s why I work in the library field. I started at the Bexley Library when I was still an undergrad at Capital University as a page, shelving books. I really like the environment of a library. I was offered a full-time position there and I accepted it. I eventually decided that I wanted to make libraries my career, so I went to graduate school while working full-time at Bexley. I graduated from Kent University with my master’s in library and information sciences. I worked my way up at Bexley and became the director of library support services. I was in that position for a couple of years. Then, I took an opportunity to become a director at Pickaway County Library in 2016. I was there for six years.

What projects have you worked on in previous roles?

At the Pickaway County Library, I helped launch a local syndicate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. It is a book-gifting program where children receive one free book in the mail every month until their fifth birthday. There are resources for parents, and the program is a great way to build kindergarten readiness. We reached the top five in terms of enrollment percentage out of all of the counties in Ohio. Additionally, the library expanded its hours and implemented nontraditional collections like board games and puzzles. We put in a drivein window at the main library. My time at Pickaway was really rewarding.

Why did you decide to apply for this role?

I wasn’t looking for a new job, but Oberlin has a reputation as a community with values that I appreciate. The community cares about cultural experiences and education being inviting to everyone, and those are things that tie directly into the library world. It is closer to family. So, it seemed like a really good opportunity for me. I decided to apply and was lucky enough to be accepted. It felt like a good fit. The library is really valued by the community. There’s a passion this community has for being inviting to everyone.

There was friction between the library board and Darren McDonough, former OPL director, over The Bridge, a community technology center nearby. How do you plan to address this issue?

This is the second time I have come into a community as a new director. The most important thing I can do is listen. I want to take the next three to six months to get information and observe. Having a new director is hope for a restart and a clean slate for things. I look forward to getting to know Stephanie [Jones, director] at The Bridge better and learning about the resources they have there. Any successful organization reevaluates what they are doing.

In your first few weeks in Oberlin, what do you hope to learn?

I’m going to be learning about the community for a lot longer than my first few weeks. It’s going to be a long process and a fun process. Over the past three weeks, everyone has been incredibly welcoming: staff, board members, community members. Everyone I meet seems genuinely happy to invite me into Oberlin, and I appreciate that so much.