The Library Center, 4653 S. Campbell Ave. The building is the flagship site of the Springfield-Greene County Library District. (Photo by Dylan Durrington)

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The next director of the Springfield-Greene County Library District brings more than four decades of experience with libraries in cities and universities. 

Edward Walton was announced as the director of the library June 12. He will begin his new job on July 8.

Edward Walton

Rachael Morrow, president of the library’s Board of Trustees, said the board chose Walton because of his experience with libraries and leadership.

“Walton is a natural consensus builder, and brings the perspective of varied library experiences and has more than 30 years of leadership experience,” Morrow said in a press release. “His passion for our community, his experience in ensuring our library system remains among the top in the nation, and his mission to always help others succeed make us confident he is the right person to lead the district as we expand and develop to meet the changing needs of our citizens.”

With the help of a professional firm, the Springfield-Greene County Library Board of Trustees conducted a national search for the new director. A pool of finalists was presented to the board in April, and the board made its final decision Tuesday by extending an offer to Walton.

Walton will earn an annual salary of $160,000, according to a response to a Sunshine Law request by the Hauxeda. Scion Executive Search, will be paid about $53,328 as a base fee for its management of the search.

Morrow said that the firm performed extensive intake interviews with administrative staff members and board members to determine priorities for the search, and that staff members of the library's 10 branches were given the opportunity to provide feedback for that search process. The firm also assisted with interviews of finalists and background checks.

After repeated attempts by the Daily Citizen, Morrow did not say how many candidates applied and how many finalists were considered.

Experience with statewide lending system

Walton for the last two years has been director of library services and operations at Northwest Missouri State University. He led a reorganization of services at the university’s B.D. Owens Library to improve student collaboration, including enhanced management of silent and collaborative study spaces. 

Before that, he worked for more than 20 years at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, as the dean of university libraries and professor of library services.

Walton is also a former president and an at-large member of the board of directors for Mobius Lending Libraries, a non-profit company that allows universities across Missouri to share materials and resources with each other. Walton helped the consortium transform from a quasi-state institution to a tax-deductible non-profit organization.

It gives Walton a chance to return to Springfield.

“For more than 20 years, I lived in the Springfield area,” Walton said in the release. “I have always been impressed by the facilities, staff, and support I receive on each visit … I look forward to joining the outstanding library staff and continuing to provide exemplary service to the community.”

Walton earned his doctorate of education from Union University, a master’s degree in library science from the University of North Texas and his bachelor’s degree in religion from Dallas Baptist University.

Walton replaces Regina Greer Cooper, who led the library for 15 years before retiring from the post in December 2023

Reporter's note: This report has been edited to include salary information and a fee from a national search firm.

Joe Hadsall

Joe Hadsall is the education reporter for the Hauxeda. Hadsall has more than two decades of experience reporting in the Ozarks with the Joplin Globe, Christian County Headliner News and 417 Magazine. Contact him at (417) 837-3671 or More by Joe Hadsall