Public Library Board selects new director
The Portage County Public Library Board of Trustees recently announced it hired Larry Oathout to be the new Portage County Public Library director.
Oathout earned a bachelor’s degree in radio, TV and film from Indiana State University and worked in the radio industry for many years before pursuing a career in libraries. He has two master’s degrees, one in speech communication from Eastern Illinois University and one in library science from the University of Illinois.
For the past 20 years, Oathout has worked in roles of increasing responsibility within libraries. He held multiple positions at the Mattoon Public Library in Illinois from 1996 to 2004, including assistant director, operations director and interim director. He was also the director of the Perry County Public Library in Indiana from 2004 to 2012.
During four years of this directorship, he was also an adjunct instructor for interpersonal communication and introduction to speech at the Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana. He then moved on to become the chief operations officer of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library in Indiana in 2012 where he remained until this year.
Making a difference at the community and state levels is something Oathout said he always seeks to do.
His local roles have included a six-year run on the Board of Southern Indiana Resource Solutions, four years on the Leadership Perry County Board, the Evansville Museum Technology Committee and the Evansville Literacy Center Board.
Some of Oathout’s greatest library career achievements, he said, include facilitating the merger of two Perry County, Ind., library districts to improve efficiency and service to residents, and spearheading an E-Access Student Card program with the local school district to put electronic resource cards in the hands of all public high school students.
He said he has a special interest in using data analysis in order to fine-tune library services to meet the specific needs of local communities.
He will officially begin his role as library director Oct. 10.