Kenosha Public Library Announces Retirement of Director Barbara Brattin

Kenosha, WI – Kenosha Public Library (KPL) is announcing the retirement of Barbara Brattin, its esteemed and award-winning Director, effective 2 August 2024, marking the conclusion of an illustrious career in public service that has profoundly enriched our community.

Since assuming the role of Director on January 27, 2014, Barbara has been a visionary and steadfast leader, the eighth to helm KPL and its four branch locations. Her tenure is noted for significant advancements and initiatives that have enhanced the library's role within Kenosha and beyond.

Among her notable achievements, Barbara secured the 2020 Library of the Year award,  ensuring ongoing professional development and excellence in service. Her foresight in integrating state-of-the-art automation, including self-check-out and self-check-in systems, has streamlined library operations and enriched user experience.

Under Barbara's leadership, KPL joined the SHARE consortium, a pivotal move that expanded access for Kenosha’s citizens from 440,000 to over 2 million items, vastly broadening the horizons of our community's readers and learners.

Barbara's vision extended into the community through the establishment of the Kenosha Parks Alliance, in collaboration with the City of Kenosha, YMCA, and Boys and Girls Club. This initiative has played a crucial role in reducing youth crime rates in our city center, fostering a safer and more vibrant environment for all.

A staunch defender of intellectual freedom, Barbara courageously protected the right to read, standing firm against calls for book censorship. Her leadership ensured that KPL remained a sanctuary for free expression and thought.

During times of crisis, including the pandemic lockdowns and periods of civil unrest, Barbara guided her staff and community with compassion and resilience, ensuring that the library continued serving as a beacon of hope and a center of community engagement.

The Board, staff, and community members extend their deepest gratitude to Barbara for her unwavering dedication and transformative impact. She leaves behind a legacy of innovation, community service, and a strengthened library system that will benefit Kenoshans for generations to come.

President of the Kenosha Public Library Board of Trustees, Nancy Humphrey, says of Barb’s career, Barb’s dedication, expertise, and leadership have been instrumental in shaping our library into a vibrant center of knowledge and community engagement. We are grateful for Barb bringing her passion, talent, and drive to Kenosha. Our libraries will long reflect the benefit of her vision.”

Further details regarding the celebration of Barbara’s career and information about the transition will be shared in the coming weeks. As the library goes through the recruitment process for a new director, Assistant Director Brandi Cummings will serve as Interim Director.

In speaking about Interim Director Brandi Cummings, Board President Humphrey said, “We have full confidence in Brandi's ability to lead the library during this transition period as we execute the search process to find a new Director. Brandi has been an integral part of our library team for 15 years and has consistently demonstrated exceptional professionalism, innovation, and a deep commitment to serving our community.”