A new face joined the staff at the libraries in Lowell and Alto in August. Dave Palma was named by Kent District Library as a new regional manager for its Englehardt and Alto branches.
With the retirement of manager Sandy Graham, the library promoted Kurt Lardie to the regional manager I position while Palma takes over the regional manager II role. That means he’ll be overseeing the internal operations of the two branches and tasked with scheduling staff, managing circulation and similar duties.
Caledonia Native with Background as Teen Librarian
Palma grew up in Caledonia and spent some time in Charleston, South Carolina, before returning to the Grand Rapids area. He worked with at-risk teens prior to joining Kent District library as a teen paraprofessional at the Cascade branch.
“It was what would be called a teen librarian now,” he explains.
After eight years in that role, he entered a manager training program at the Wyoming branch. The manager’s position for the Lowell and Alto branches opened as he was wrapping up his training.
Coming to the Lowell area from Cascade – one of the district’s largest branches – has been a change of pace for Palma. He notes that Alto is essentially a storefront, but its small size also has its benefits.
“You really get to know everybody who comes in,” he says. That helps with a part of the job that Palma likes best: “I absolutely love making connections with people.”
Creating a Library for Everyone
As a child, Palma remembers the library being one of his favorite places. That’s something he hopes to foster for the next generation. “I want every kid to have that experience – that the library is the best place in the world,” he shares.
“We want Lowell to be the friendliest branch,” he adds, referring to both the Englehardt and Alto locations. “(Somewhere) that everyone has a place at the table.”
Today, Palma splits his time between the Alto and Lowell branches. When not working, you might find him reading…of course. His favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, and he names J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss as among his favorite authors. Palma and his wife are also parents of two children, ages 7 and 3.
The next time you are near the Englehardt or Alto libraries, swing in and look for Palma’s smiling face. He is happy to be here in Lowell and looks forward to building upon the community’s already excellent branches.