Published Thursday, January 17, 2013
By ALEX MCRAE
Jimmy Bass, who was unanimously elected Tuesday as executive director of the Coweta County Public Library System, brings a wealth of experience and a load of enthusiasm to his new position.
"I'm elated and excited," Bass said. "I'm looking for us to continue the good work we've been doing and to improve things as we move forward. We have a great staff and great community support and we are dedicated to serving our customers. My goal is to work hard, work smart and constantly improve."
Bass is a native of Albany, Georgia. His father owned several heating/ air conditioning companies and retail stores. Early on, Bass developed a love for learning and for music. Upon graduating from Riverview Academy, Bass went on to gain degrees from Darton College, Georgia Southwestern University and Florida State University.
While pursuing his education, he continued to work in the family business and started his own rock band which played at universities and clubs throughout the Southeast. The band played many notable events including a bill with popular 1980s band .38 Special. The group even performed for President Jimmy Carter’s birthday. At Florida State, Bass was elected his class president and completed two internships with the State Library of Florida and the Leon County Public Library system.
Upon graduating from FSU with his master’s degree, Bass returned to the Dougherty County Library System in Albany. During his time at Dougherty County, he worked in practically every department before assuming the role of manager at the headquarters library.
Bass became a board member for the Information Access Company and was selected as an original member of the PINES (Public Information Network for Electronic Services) committee. He was chosen to attend Supervisory Leadership academy for Albany/ Dougherty County and was a library representative for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The latter honor gave Bass the opportunity to travel to Seattle and see firsthand how the Microsoft organization operated.
In 2001, Bass married Kelley Wilkinson of Leesburg, Ga. The couple have two children, Spenser and Harris. In 2003, Bass accepted the position of library director for the then Newnan-Coweta Library on Hospital Road in Newnan.
While head of the Newnan-Coweta Public Library, Bass oversaw a $1 million renovation and addition to the library facility, became vice president of the Newnan Kiwanis Club and was selected as a board member for several organizations including Certified Literate is Coweta's Key – CLICK, the Georgia Gold Committee and the Public Library Division of the Georgia Library Association.
As the library became part of the newly formed Coweta County Public Library System, Bass continued on as the head of the rechristened A. Mitchell Powell Jr. Public Library. He focused on programming and used his interest in music to help out, particularly with children’s programming.
He performed music at the library and throughout the Coweta school system for many energetic, happy young children. Bass developed a "Friends" group for the library and developed the idea of the Anne Powell garden, remembering the wife of A. Mitchell Powell Jr. He was also selected to be a part of the inaugural class of the Pinnacle Institute, a statewide program designed for up-and-coming library leaders.
Upon assuming the job of interim director for the Coweta County Public Library System in August 2012, Bass focused first on making a smooth transition for both the public and staff.
After his appointment as the system's new executive director Tuesday evening, Bass said, “We have beautiful buildings, passionate and knowledgeable staff, wonderful support from the county and many exciting pages yet to turn in the successful story of our system. It is my goal to focus on staff development and support, crafty programming and new technologies/ products. Coweta is a thriving, vibrant county and it deserves a library system focused on special service, overall appeal and continuous improvement.”
In his free time, Bass enjoys spending time with his family, playing/ writing music and learning something new every day. His favorite authors include John Connolly, James Lee Burke and Jo Nesbo. Bass’ original music can be found on iTunes and Amazon. He enjoys playing tennis but admits that his wife, daughter and son can beat him. He loves Coweta County, he said, and looks forward to making the library system even better each and every day.