Duluth Library Foundation Hires New Executive Director

The Duluth Library Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of its new executive director, Erin Kreeger. Kreeger joined the Foundation on Sep. 1, 2021, after Patra Sevastiades retired in May 2021. Sevastiades served as the Foundation’s first executive director for over a decade.

Erin brings fundraising, non-profit management, and public policy experience to the Foundation. After living and working in Washington, D.C. for nearly a decade, Erin chose Minnesota as her forever home and moved to Duluth in the winter of 2017. Erin began her career in public policy, specifically working on criminal justice reform at the federal and state level. Erin most recently worked at The College of St. Scholastica, managing their annual giving program. Erin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the University of Wyoming and a Master’s in Public Administration from George Mason University.

“I want to thank the Foundation Board of Directors for their leadership and support,” said Erin Kreeger. “The Duluth Public Library is a unique service and space for our community. I am excited to support the Library’s important work of promoting a love of reading, increasing educational access and opportunities, and providing a creative and welcoming environment for all. I look forward to connecting with our community in the coming months and invite everyone to join us at our 10th annual Learning and Libations Saturday, Sep. 18, 2021.”

Board President, Amy Kuronen, expressed her enthusiasm. “We are very excited to welcome Erin to our team! She brings both her belief in the important work of libraries and its access to all in our community and her professional experience in development to this position. We feel Erin will be instrumental in ensuring a bright future for the Duluth Library Foundation.”

A Heart for Children & Literacy

One day, when Karen Alworth was a little girl, her mother found her reading. She was surprised. “You’re not even in first grade yet!” she exclaimed with delight. As she grew older, Karen read to her younger brothers and sister. Not having many books of her own, the local library provided her with books that kept her reading for years to come.

When Royal Alworth was in second grade, he wasn’t reading for comprehension. His father began to read him a book by Robert Ruark, The Old Man and the Boy—stories of nature, of the lessons a grandfather teaches his grandson. Their time reading together was very meaningful, and the stories left Royal hungry to know, “What happened next?”

These two readers married, and they taught their four children to love books, too. Their oldest child began reading in first grade to his three little sisters and in the years to come, they all took a turn reading Harry Potter to each other. Now all of them continue the tradition of loving books and libraries.

Perhaps that is why in 2019 Karen and Royal dedicated themselves to supporting Every Child Ready Duluth, a library-led, community-wide initiative with a single aim: to help ensure that every child in Duluth begins kindergarten ready to learn.

Every Child Ready Duluth focuses on early childhood intervention, providing families with the simple tools needed to help ready their children for school, and promoting a love of reading and lifelong discovery to children. Supported by a coalition of organizations across Duluth, this initiative increases the likelihood that all of Duluth’s preschoolers will succeed when they enter school.

We are grateful for Karen and Royal’s commitment to the youngest members of our community and for their desire that every child in Duluth enter kindergarten ready to learn: with a willing attitude, confidence in the process of learning, and a healthy state of mind.

Mayor Emily Larson (right) applauds as Karen Alworth announces that she and husband Royal (center) support Every Child Ready Duluth and encourage other Duluthians to do so as well.