Great Neck Library appoints Denise Corcoran as new library director

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Great Neck Library appoints Denise Corcoran as new library director
Denise Corcoran, the director of community library services, will officially begin as Great Neck's new library director on Feb. 1. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Great Neck Library Board of Trustees officially appointed Denise Corcoran as the new library director on Tuesday night, following the firing of Kathy Giotsas last spring and a months long search to hire a new director.

Corcoran will officially begin on Feb. 1.

Corcoran brings experience primarily from the Queens Library, where she began as a young adult librarian in 2007, according to her LinkedIn profile. She then served as a community library manager and principal library manager before becoming the director of community library services there in August 2014.

Corcoran, who oversaw 20 community libraries in her position, said that when looking for a new position, Great Neck stood out to her as community that values education, literacy, the arts and family.

“I wanted someplace where I could be part of the community and really help develop the library system,” Corcoran said after the meeting. “And although this is already a strong library system – it’s actually one of the strongest on Long Island – I thought that I would have things to contribute with my experience.”

Corcoran will now be tasked with overseeing a system with four libraries, including the Main Library and its three branches, more than 40,000 people and a budget worth nearly $10 million.

The exact reasons for Giotsas’ firing remains unclear, as legal counsel has said the library could not comment on matters regarding personnel.

Previous directors in the last five years, interim and not, include Jane Marino, who resigned after a $20.8 million bond referendum was defeated, Laura Weir and Chris Johnson. Giotsas had been serving since Aug. 3, 2015, before Tracy Geiser took over as interim director in May 2017 following Giotsas’ termination.

With the appointment of a new library director, Geiser will return to her position as assistant library director.

Marianna Wohlgemuth, a member of the library’s director search committee, said that as a member of the public, she was looking for someone who could balance staff and public needs. But with 15 members on the committee, there were also many other perspectives that went into the decision, she said.

“We each brought different views to the table and it was quite a process, but [Trustee] Rebecca Miller kept us all in line,” Wohlgemuth said.

“It was done fairly and equitably by all of us,” she added. “We all had input. It was a team.”

Members of the director search committee included members of the Board of Trustees; staff members Nick Camastro and Holly Coscetta; the youth services coordinator, Adam Hinz; the business manager, Steven Kashkin; and the Lakeville branch head, Alana Mutum.

There were also three nonvoting members of the public: Martin Adickman, a Russell Gardens trustee, Rebecca Gilliar, a civic activist in Great Neck, and Wohlgemuth, a North New Hyde Park civic activist.

Robert Schaufeld, the president of the library board, said he believes that Corcoran is the “perfect match for the library” and looks forward to working with her to keep the Great Neck Library great.

“I hope that we are able to finish all our existing projects and come up with new and innovative ideas to keep the Great Neck Library at the forefront of libraries on Long Island and across the country,” Schaufeld said.

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