Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Director Resigns

Jan 20, 2011

The director of Charlotte-Mecklenburg's library system is stepping down. The library board approved Charles Brown's resignation yesterday. Brown led the library for seven years. During that time the library expanded and won national awards. But budget cuts over the past year prompted the library to lay off 180 people and drastically curtail hours. At the beginning of that process, Brown came under criticism when the county commission cut its budget mid-year. The library system responded by saying it would have to close twelve libraries. After much public outcry, the board decided to reverse that decision and cut hours instead. Library board chairwoman Robin Branstrom says Brown approached her in December about stepping down. She says he's a capable leader, but the past year was difficult for him and the library. "There was nothing wrong with this foundation that Charles helped to create, but when the funding stopped the foundation began to crumble," says Branstrom. "It required skill sets that were not what a normal director of libraries had developed over the years." Brown says there's a need for different types of management when budgets are so stretched. Former Bank of America executive Vick Phillips will take over as interim director. He recently conducted a preliminary analysis of the library's operations. The library will pay him $13,000 a month. Brown will stay on till June to help with the transition. He'll make 80 percent of what he did as director.