Introducing Beth Burns & Stu Wilson



I am writing today to both introduce myself and share some great news about a colleague well known to many of you, Stu Wilson. I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary as president of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, the foundation for the nationally renowned Saint Paul Public Library system and home to Library Strategies Consulting Group. I follow in the footsteps of Peter Pearson, who not only led our Friends organization for 25 years, but also founded and grew Library Strategies into the innovative consulting enterprise that it is today.

While new to the library world, I have spent the past 25 years working with a number of Twin Cities’ cultural organizations: the Guthrie Theater, Children’s Theatre Company, Minnesota Zoo, and MacPhail Center for Music. I am an experienced lobbyist, fundraiser, communications and marketing specialist. I have also produced all sorts of events over the course of my career, from opening night celebrations to national theater tours to rock music concerts.

Literature is my first love, though, and I have been thrilled to immerse myself in the evolving world of the library, where the power of language and the path to learning are more important than ever. The wonderful team here at The Friends, including my Library Strategies colleagues, have been enormously supportive of my transition into this role. The past few years have been marked by significant transitions throughout The Friends. In addition to Peter’s retirement in 2016, Library Strategies Director Sue Hall retired at the end of 2017.

While I will be forever grateful for the one-year crossover with Sue and my tenures, I am also thrilled that our future leader was already inside our organization. Stu Wilson is our new director of Library Strategies and I am confident he will build on the vision and success that Sue brought to the role, while infusing his tenure with original ideas and strategies.

For those of you who do not know Stu, he has worked with Library Strategies since its inception and been a principal consultant for Library Strategies since 2012. His career has spanned both sides of the Mississippi here in the Twin Cities. After initially serving as vice president of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, he took a hiatus from us to be executive director of The Friends of the Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis. We’re thrilled he found his way back to Saint Paul to share his 25+ years of senior management experience in library, adult literacy, museum and nonprofit administration. Stu has helped a DIZZYING number of LSCG clients – more than 100 libraries, foundations, Friends and affiliated organizations. What little time Stu has beyond client work with Library Strategies is spent with Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, a nonprofit he founded to celebrate the legacy of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I spent my first year as The Friends’ president getting to know this complex organization and our many wonderful stakeholders here in Saint Paul. Next week, I am looking forward to attending my first national ALA convening in Denver. I’m participating in the United for Libraries Institute for Friends, Foundations, and Trustees.  I’ll be presenting a session on my experience working to attract and retain millennial stakeholders on Friday, February 9 and invite you to please say ‘hello’ if you’re also going to be there. I look forward to meeting you in the coming weeks, months, and years and to working together to strengthen our communities as we strengthen our libraries.


Beth Burns
President, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

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