The city has hired Joseph Houston as the new director of the Lewiston Public Library. The city said it conducted an extensive search to replace former Director Marcela Peres. City of Lewiston photo

LEWISTON — City and library officials announced Tuesday that Joseph Houston is the new director of the Lewiston Public Library.

According to a news release, the selection came after an “extensive search to find an experienced, versed library leader” following the departure of former Director Marcela Peres. The city said Houston has nearly two decades of experience in academic, private and public libraries.

The joint announcement from city administration and the Lewiston Public Library board of trustees said Houston most recently served as interim executive director of the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library in Zionsville, Indiana. He had also previously served as director of public services and as a department head for teen and adult services there.

Houston previously served in several roles at Harrison College in Indianapolis, including director of library operations. He also worked at the Old Worthington Library in Worthington, Ohio.

According to the announcement, Houston learned of the Lewiston library position from his former colleague who recently became executive director of the Portland Public Library.

“Lewiston is a place where I could settle down and make a difference in the community while also exploring a state rich in beautiful natural resources from the forest to the coast,” he said.


Houston said he first became interested in a career as a librarian as an 18-year-old college freshman at Ohio State University, where he was employed at the Knowlton School of Architecture Library.

“I enjoyed it enough that I continued to explore that path after college and eventually decided to matriculate to graduate school for library and information science at Kent State,” he said. “I had been a voracious reader and writer growing up, so it is not too surprising that I ended up in an industry that is based on a love of reading, access to knowledge and learning.”

Houston was named library director roughly four months after Marcela Peres’ last day on April 5. Peres was hired in 2017 to replace Rick Speer, who served as director for more than three decades. Librarian Katherine Webber served as interim director this spring and summer.

“Director Houston’s broad experience and skill set will be an asset to our library and community,” Mariah Pfeiffer, board of trustees chairwoman said. “The board looks forward to his advocacy, ideas and leadership.”

Mayor Carl Sheline said the library is “a vital part of our city’s vibrancy, and (Houston’s) passion for library resources and zest for community will clearly be assets for both patrons and the city as a whole.”

Houston has a master’s degree in library and information science from Kent State University and a bachelor’s degree in arts, Spanish linguistics from Ohio State University.

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