News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 09/23/2010
Subject :

Palo Alto’s Library Department Director Announces Retirement
Contact : James Keene, City Manager    650-329-2563
Palo Alto, CA – The City of Palo Alto is announcing that Diane Jennings, Library Department Director since July 2006, will retire in December after 24 years with the City.

Jennings joined Palo Alto in September 1986 as Manager of Main Library Services where she was responsible for management of the Main Library as well as the system-wide reference and circulation service. Following a departmental reorganization in 1991, Jennings also handled collection development and technology projects for the Library. She served as interim Director from September 2002 to March 2004 during which time Jennings facilitated the transition of the City’s libraries from a Division of the Community Services Department to the new Library Department in 2003-04. Jennings was appointed as Director of the Library Department in October 2006.

"Diane has been a solid contributor to the City organization and the Senior Management Team for many years," said James Keene, City Manager. “She has served this community well as Director for our City Libraries during an era of significant change encompassing the successful passage of the Library Bond to improve facilities to the difficult constraint of declining revenues that impact staffing levels and operational capacity.”

During her tenure with the City, Jennings helped to significantly upgrade the technology resources for libraries. She worked on providing Palo Alto’s first online library catalog in 1986; partnered with the Utilities Department’s Fiber to the Home pilot program to provide public WiFi access (one of first public libraries in the region to do so); and began the innovative loaner laptop program in partnership with Cable Co-op and the Friends of the Palo Alto Library. She also managed a multi-year library technology capital improvement project. Jennings is proud to have received a Manual Piers Award (Rotary Club's City of Palo Alto Outstanding Employee Award) in 1995 in recognition for her contributions to the City’s libraries.

In the last few years, Jennings has been exceptionally busy working to improve the library facilities and obtain funding for major capital improvements. She worked closely with the Library Advisory Commission (LAC) to develop the 2006 Library Services Model Analysis and Recommendations report, which eventually led to the 2008 Measure N Library Bond Measure. Additionally, Jennings worked with a coalition of the Palo Alto Library Foundation and the Friends of the Palo Alto Library in a funding partnership to renovate and expand the Children’s Library and provide new furnishing and equipment for the branch as well as supported their efforts to raise millions in support of library facilities, collections, and services. Without Jennings’ leadership and ongoing partnership with the library support groups, several of the library facility improvement projects, including the Bond Measure projects, may not have succeeded.

“I am very pleased that, after many years of passionate debate about library service in Palo Alto, we are now in the middle of a marvelous transition for all our libraries. Our community volunteers, the LAC, our Foundation and Friends partners, along with City staff, deserve the credit for their hard work to make the vision of a better library system a reality. It’s certainly been the most rewarding time of my career.“

Jennings began her professional career in 1976 in Virginia where she worked in a community college library, became Director of a county library, and later became the Head Librarian in Blacksburg, VA. After her tenure in Virginia, she spent time as Regional Librarian for Vermont State Library before coming to Palo Alto in September 1986.

In addition to retiring from the City, Jennings will also be relocating to New Mexico.

“My husband and I are looking forward to our new lives in Santa Fe, where we will move from one great city to another. Santa Fe is in an area rich in history and culture, and we’ll have the time to enjoy it all,” Jennings added.