New library director, Taliah Abdullah, at welcome reception says, “I would just like for us to get to know each other and to explore ways to enhance the wellbeing of our community”

By Canisha Bell and Jan Worth-Nelson

“We are in such good hands. I would just like for us to get to know each other and to explore ways to enhance the wellbeing of our community,” Taliah Abdullah, new executive director of the Gloria Coles Flint Public Library (GCFPL) said to a crowd of about 50 community leaders, library staff, and library patrons at a welcome reception Aug. 2.

New Library Executive Director of the Gloria Coles Flint Public Library, Taliah Abdullah, greeting a crowd of about 50 community leaders and library patrons at a welcome reception. (Photo by Jan Worth-Nelson)

After thanking the assembled crowd, the library board, the FPL staff, and the Flint community in general — for what she said was an unfailingly warm reception — Abdullah invited those present to join her “in creating a welcoming and thriving community as we embark on this journey together.”

“I am committed to fostering open communication and transparency,” she said.  “I believe that by working collaboratively  we can address challenges, celebrate achievements, and create lasting connections that will uplift, build, encourage our community in ways we are currently doing and that is yet to be done.

“We are so excited to have Director Abdullah onboard,” Reta Stanley, president of the GCFPL board, said at the reception.  “She comes with a wealth of knowledge in library systems and  in programming, and is an advocate of equity, diversity and inclusion.”

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Stanley described Abdullah as “a visionary, very thoughtful in her decision making.”

“She is going to build a larger community engagement with the library — which is very important,” Stanley added, noting that Abdullah plans to connect more with the Flint public schools and promote literacy in the community.

Stanley said the new director aims “to promote greater civility in our community as well.  [The GCFPL] is a place for lifelong learning,”  Stanley said, “and when people engage on that level only great things can happen — she’s the leader for that.”

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Abdullah’s first official day on the job was July 24.  She comes to Flint from Arapahoe Library District in Englewood, CO and has worked in academic, school, and public libraries in multiple states, holding management positions for 20 years. She replaces Kay Schwartz, who retired this summer after seven years as director and a total of 24 years at the library.

Abdullah comes into a physically transformed facility. It reopened in 2022 after a massive renovation at a cost of more than $20 million. Of that, $12.6 million was supported by a library bond approved by voters in 2019.

EVM Reporter Canisha Bell can be reached at

EVM Consulting Editor Jan Worth-Nelson can be reached at

Author: East Village Magazine

A Non-profit, Community News Magazine Since 1976

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