The Howard County Library System (HCLS) Board of Trustees has announced Tonya Kennon as HCLS’ next president and CEO. Kennon joins HCLS following a career in libraries in California and will start her new position on April 23. She succeeds Valerie Gross, who retired in August after 16 years with HCLS.
Kennon has been director of Riverside Public Library since 2011. A municipal library system, Riverside is composed of a main library and seven branches serving a city of 314,000 people. As director, she worked to secure unanimous City Council approval to construct a new $40 million main library (breaking ground this year), convinced 85% of voters to approve a library parcel tax measure, secured a 20% increase in grant revenue and implemented 100% privately-funded STEM Makerspaces at all library locations, among other accomplishments.
Prior to her most recent position, Kennon served as the county librarian and library services supervisor with the County of Riverside and Tustin Unified School District. She received her B.A. from California Baptist University and M.L.I.S. from San Jose State University.