Library board

The Greenwood County Library Board of Trustees announced Tuesday that Tracey Ouzts would serve as library director, removing the interim tag from her title. Chairwoman Clarissa Blackmore, Vice Chairwoman Barbara Wright, board member Ojetter Williams, Treasurer Margaret Anderson and Ouzts discuss the library’s budget.

Tracey Ouzts is Greenwood County Library System’s new permanent director.

“You are no longer interim,” Clarissa Blackmore, library board chairwoman, told Ouzts Tuesday. “We are very happy about that.”

Blackmore said Ouzts has done a wonderful job leading the library over the last few months.

“All I can say is y’all have been so supportive,” Ouzts said. “I appreciate your vote of confidence.”

Ouzts has served as interim director since Prudence Taylor retired in June.

Board member Ojetter Williams asked Ouzts who would lead the library if she were to be out for an extended time.

Ouzts said Tiffany Crayne, head of tech services, and Julie Horton, head of reference, would function in her absence. She said both have worked for the library for at least 12 years and each has management experience.

“I have already been including them in a lot of planning,” Ouzts said.

She said the library employs 27 and staffing is not at full capacity.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Ouzts gave an update on the system. She said that while the COVID-19 pandemic forced the library to close its doors for 10 weeks, usage by county residents only dropped a little.

Ouzts said before the pandemic, library usage was at 72%. It has since only dropped to 69%. Despite the adjustment in hours, the library has remained open.

“We have not had to look at closing the library again,” Ouzts said.

She said the Ninety Six library branch has closed and will not reopen until the branch manager is cleared to return to work.

Ouzts said she had considered expanding the library’s hours of operation beyond Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. However, she said the increase in positive cases of COVID-19 caused her to halt those plans.

Contact staff writer James Hicks at jhicks@indexjournal.com or on Twitter @jameshicks3.