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Flom resigns as executive director of Cooper-Siegel library, Boyd Community Center

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Stephanie Flom at a recent fundraiser.

Like any genuine literary enthusiast, Stephanie Flom is looking forward to her next chapter.

The executive director of the Cooper-Siegel Community Library and the Boyd Community Center on Tuesday announced her resignation after nine years at the helm. Her last day is May 10.

“My time here at the library and at the community center has been an amazing adventure,” Flom said.

“I've been able to work with so many wonderful people and to learn and grow — both personally and professionally.”

Enzo Santilli, community center association board president, said members are busy forming a search committee to find Flom's replacement during this pivotal time — ground is expected to break on a new $7.25 million community center this spring.

Flom is moving on to become the executive director for Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures, which hosts events to connect readers with New York Times best-selling authors. Flom's first foray will be hosting Washington Post writer Wil Haygood on May 19 at the Byham Theater, downtown Pittsburgh. Haygood's chronicle on civil rights struggles inside the White House inspired last year's hit film, “Lee Daniels' The Butler.”

“It is a unique opportunity for me to engage my passion for literature and return to my roots in the arts,” Flom said.

On the heels of her announcement, Flom's peers are already lamenting her departure.

“We are grateful to Stephanie for her many contributions to our community,” said Verne Koch, president of the community library association. “We wish her all the best.”

Serving the 30,000 residents that make up the Fox Chapel Area School District, the library along Fox Chapel road opened in 2011 with triple the space to offer art classes, homework help, story time, computers and more. It is stocked with 80,000 books, movies and reference materials.

“When we built the library, the board presented me a glass book that is inscribed with the words ‘Thank you for making our dreams come true.' In many ways, this has been a dream job,” Flom said.

In Flom's time here, she has ushered in other similar milestone projects like the opening of the Sharpsburg Community Library in 2009 and its $950,000 expansion set to get underway this year.

The community center, in the midst of a $7.25 million fundraising campaign, has seen a complete transformation from a mediocre gathering spot to a thriving educational and social site that offers more than 300 courses each year.

The 31-year-old center is a sought-after facility with courses that offer growth to residents in language, exercise, arts and literature, Flom said.

Santilli said the new director will be vital to continued growth by helping to make decisions on architectural plans, programming and rental opportunities. They will oversee the launch of the much-awaited fitness center as well, he said.

Jill McConnell, library manager, said Flom has supported the staff and buoyed creativity by giving them freedom to run with ideas.

“She has become a mentor,” McConnell said. “Anytime someone goes to her with an idea, she tells us to go for it. She has boosted our confidence.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. She can be reached at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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