Executive Director/CEO Michael P. Butler has officially announced his retirement from OhioNET, effective January 2, 2019.
Butler's 26-year tenure has been marked by innovation and collaboration. Two of the most notable innovations of that time have been the OPAL and COOL projects. Leaders from both OPAL and COOL conveyed their thoughts on Butler's crucial leadership.
“Michael was instrumental in the formation of the OPAL (Ohio Private Academic Libraries) collaborative project in 1998 to implement a shared integrated library management system that allowed 16 private colleges to become part of OhioLINK to share physical materials”, said Andrew Whitis, University Librarian at the University of Findlay and current OhioNET Board President. “He created a solid financial foundation for OPAL members that has created benefits beyond the original shared catalog. Michael’s guidance over the past twenty years has helped OPAL add additional participating libraries, share expertise, and provide numerous professional development opportunities for all of our staff.”
Community Library Executive Director/Fiscal Officer, Chauncey G. Montgomery shared that same gratitude and esteem, “Michael Butler's interest in new technologies and innovative solutions provided the foundation needed to establish Ohio's first statewide open source ILS consortium, COOL. The COOL libraries greatly appreciate his leadership and OhioNET's support of our efforts.”
Likewise, collaboration has been a key theme during Butler’s tenure, and other library leaders have reflected on that point.
“Early on in his tenure as Executive Director of OhioNET, Michael had a vision that all Ohio libraries needed to be one community with equity at the core of our strategic mission,” wrote Theresa M. Fredericka , Director of INFOhio and OhioNET Board Member. “His leadership to help PreK-12 school libraries through staunch support of INFOhio and OELMA led to helping school librarians achieve equal access to professional learning. His vision of equity provided equal access to negotiated reductions in pricing for every library, regardless of size; and equal opportunities for school, public and academic libraries to work together. He is leaving a tremendous legacy to every Ohioan and to future generations.”
Tom Sanville, former Executive Director of OhioLINK, also remembered Butler’s spirit of cooperation as a hallmark. “Michael Butler’s unfailing spirit of cooperation and collaboration rather than competition is the hallmark of his tenure at OhioNET. Those of us from the other Ohio consortia who have worked closely with Michael have had a trusted colleague who always puts the interests of Ohio libraries first. Michael has made a lasting contribution to the continued excellence of the Ohio library community.”
Missy Lodge, Associate State Librarian for Library Development, further elaborated on the theme of Butler’s commitment to collaboration. “Throughout his time at OhioNET, Michael has shown a passion for libraries and a commitment to improving library services through collaboration. His vision brings together libraries of all types and in doing so, makes us stronger and more responsive institutions. Michael has accomplished this vision by empowering his staff to work with other library organizations, leading to successful events such as Your Library, Your Community and Embracing eBooks. And nowhere has his commitment to library collaboration been more apparent than Library Leadership Ohio. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Michael on LLO since 2010 when OhioNET stepped in to work with the State Library on retooling LLO. He firmly believes that LLO fosters collaboration in Ohio libraries by investing in future leaders and showing them the value in working together.”
The OhioNET Board has named a search committee for the Executive Director/CEO position. Whitis and Fredricka are co-chairing the committee. Further information about the search process will be shared with membership as it becomes available.