Jeff Thompson to take over the post on Oct. 1
By Meagan McGone
BREVARD - Before embarking on a career in the library field, Jeff Thompson would spend many happy hours in libraries, often getting lost in books for hours.
"I have been a reader my entire life," Mr. Thompson said. "I understand and share the love that many people have for the institution."
Effective Oct. 1, the avid reader and library-lover will be the new director for Brevard County Library Services. In that role, Mr. Thompson will oversee 17 Brevard County Public Libraries from Micco to Mims, as well as the 260 part-time and full-time employees that staff the facilities.
Beyond that, his responsibilities include establishing the direction of the county's library system as a whole, ensuring the day-to-day operations meet the needs and expectations of patrons, and directing responsibility for the Central Brevard Library and Reference Center, Mr. Thompson said.
"At the Central Brevard Library, we're trying out the concept of a library cafe, similar to what you will find in a Barnes & Noble Booksellers," he said. "Funded by the Brevard County Library Foundation - at no expense to the taxpayers - the cafe should be completed by year's end. It will be run by an outside vendor and will allow people, library patrons or the general population, to enjoy coffee and a light snack."
He said his vision for Brevard County Library Services is to continue its commitment to technology, demonstrated by his predecessor, Cathy Schweinsberg, who retired from her role as director after 14 years.
"The rise of the Internet, handheld devices, tablet computing and e-readers all have precipitated change," he said. "We can't run from that. We're just at the beginning of an exciting new era of online collaboration. We're living in a world where more and more people are 'creators' and not just consumers. People are making their own books, music and movies. In the past, this would have required individuals to spend huge amounts of money, but technology is changing all that."
Mr. Thompson has been involved in the Brevard County Library System for nearly 14 years, serving in numerous positions: as a reference librarian, a law librarian at the Viera Government Center, and most recently, as the North Area Libraries director, in which he was responsible for four libraries in Port St. John, Titusville, Mims/Scottsmoor and Merritt Island. He personally ran the Merritt Island Library.
Soon, Mr. Thompson will be able to add a completed film to his personal list of accomplishments. He is currently working on a documentary called "The Florida Suite."
"I am an amateur filmmaker, and my father's life in retirement on his Scottsmoor orange grove, caring for my grandmother with Alzheimer's disease, was something I felt compelled to capture," Mr. Thompson said. "I am in the final stages of editing my documentary."
Born in Melbourne and a graduate of Satellite High School, Mr. Thompson is a 13-year resident of Suntree, where he serves on the Suntree Master Homeowner's Association Board of Directors. He is married to Joyce Wilden, president of Buzz Biz Public Relations, and said his granddad, a career U.S. Navy man named Monty Thompson, was one of the most important figures in his life growing up, as he taught him the values of truth, integrity and humanity.