REDLANDS -- A successor has been named to take over the reins at A.K. Smiley Public Library - Don McCue.

McCue, the archivist for the library's Heritage Room, will succeed Larry Burgess, who announced his retirement Nov. 18 after 40 years with the library.

Burgess' final day will be Dec. 31. McCue will take over on Jan. 2.

The Library Board of Trustees made the announcement Wednesday afternoon after finalizing a contract with McCue the night before.

He called the announcement thrilling and a memorable moment in his career.

"A major component of my life is wrapped up in this community and defines a large part of who I am," McCue said. "It's even more so to follow in the very large shoes of Larry Burgess.

"I don't need to tell you of the reputation he has to the area because anyone will tell you what a wonderful job he's done here and the high regard he's held with the people.

"I've got a daunting task in front of me."

McCue has been an archivist at the library since 1986, after his tenure as a researcher at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

During his time with the library, McCue has seen the addition of the Heritage Room, which he oversees with Associate Archivist Nathan Gonzales.

Under his leadership, the Heritage Room received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Society of California Archivists in 2000 and the Lincoln Memorial Shrine - which added two new wings in 1998 - was the recipient of the Lincoln Forum's 2012 Wendy Allen Award as an institution that best promotes Abraham Lincoln.

A successor to McCue has yet to be announced.

"The library's special collections division has experienced tremendous growth thanks largely to Don's leadership," said Bill Hardy, the president of the library board, in a news release. "His knowledge of the institution and the community makes him the best choice to assume the directorship of the library."

Burgess agreed.

"I know this is going to be an important and very helpful appointment because ... I know Don well from 26 years of working together," he said. "I've always been able to see the strengths that he brought 26 years ago and made them even better. It's gratifying that the planning and all the work has now come to fruition ... and there's plenty to do."

In addition to his work with the library, McCue is the former president of the Redlands Rotary Club and the Inland Empire Civil War Roundtable. He serves on the board of directors of the Redlands Community Foundation and national Lincoln Forum.

McCue said he will be working closely with the library's current staff and Burgess, who will remain in a director emeritus capacity to assist in fundraising and speaking on behalf of the library.

"Change can always be challenging ... but with the current team we have, the support of the board and the community, we will continue to make this library the pride and glory of the town," McCue said.


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