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Pender County hires Allen Phillips-Bell as new library director

BURGAW – Pender County officials announced the hiring of Allen Phillips-Bell as the new director for the Pender County library system.

“Mr. Phillips-Bell has served as Interim Library Director since Mr. Mike Taylor retired in December of 2020,” said Allen Vann, Pender County Assistant Manager. “He has done a tremendous job and I know with certainty he is the right person to lead the Pender County Library system into the future.  He has a passion of ensuring all community members throughout the county have access to the libraries and their various programs.”

Phillips-Bell has worked for Pender County Library for more than five years. He started his career in 2016 as the Virtual Services Librarian, focusing on technology-related services in the library. He was promoted to Deputy Director in 2018.

“It is a great honor to serve the people of Pender County,” said Phillips-Bell. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead our excellent library staff in providing new and innovative library services for our community.”

Phillips-Bell is a native of Union County, North Carolina. He graduated with a master’s in information science from UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science in 2014. As an undergraduate, he majored in music composition, also at UNC Chapel Hill.

“I decided to pursue a career in libraries a little over 10 years ago because I believe public libraries are a powerful way to help people: to give families access to books for their children, to help people connect to their roots through local history and genealogy, to give people access to technology and to help them use it, and to provide a welcoming third space for the community to gather and meet,” Phillips-Bell said.

He was attracted to Pender County because the county has much to offer with its beautiful landscapes, the small-town feel of Burgaw, and the beaches.

Working with Michael Taylor was a benefit to working in the Pender County system, Phillips-Bell said, adding that he learned several best practices from Taylor.

“Mike took care to prioritize reaching out to all of Pender County with library services,” said Phillips-Bell. “A prominent example is the Early Literacy Outreach program. Through it, the library delivers curated bags of books to over 60 daycare center and preschool classrooms, all throughout the county, on a monthly basis. I hope to build on that by expanding other outreach programs, bringing story time and science programs to sites throughout the county.”

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