Director named for Juneau libraries

Barbara Berg to oversee 30 library employees and a $1.8 million budget

Posted: Friday, October 17, 2003

Barbara Berg, an 18-year employee of the Juneau Public Library, was named director of the City and Borough of Juneau library system Thursday.

"I'm really happy to do this because I have a really good staff here," the North Douglas resident said. "I'm going to rely on them."

Berg and her husband, Ron, came to Juneau in May 1972. She was the first employee to work at the former Douglas Library when it became part of the library system. She took time off to raise her children, Daniel, who now lives in Oregon, and Justin, a librarian for the Hawaii State Library in Honolulu.

She returned to work for the city in 1985, serving as regional services librarian for the Books By Mail Program at the Juneau Public Library until 1994. She then became an electronic services librarian and was instrumental in introducing the local public to the Internet in July 1995. She developed the Web page for CBJ and was the webmaster at one time. The library had maintained many city paper documents, so it made sense to put them on the World Wide Web, Berg explained. She taught hundreds of local people how to use the Internet in classes offered free to the public.

Berg also participated in the Databases for Alaskans Project, in which a group of librarians determines which databases to use for their respective facilities. The state funds the project, which offers databases on a myriad of topics including health, consumer issues and business.

She worked with a team on planning for a new library near the proposed Dimond Park Community Center in the Mendenhall Valley. If built, that facility would replace the Mendenhall Valley Public Library in the Mendenhall Mall.

Berg, who has a master's degree in library science from the University of Arizona at Tucson, was one of three finalists for the job. City Manager Rod Swope made the appointment Thursday.

"Barbara Berg is a seasoned librarian who brings years of professional experience to her work," Deputy City Manager Donna Pierce said.

"Her local knowledge and experience with CBJ are certainly very positive factors in her appointment."

The director oversees 30 employees and a $1.8 million budget. The city faces a deficit in 2004 and Berg said she does not know whether cuts will be made until the city begins budget discussions. Berg's library staff will look at revenue enhancements, she said.

• Tara Sidor can be reached at

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