Tim Kambitsch, Executive Director of the Dayton Metro Library, received the Leader of the Year honor from Leadership Dayton during its annual meeting on October 21, 2020. The award is given to someone who exemplifies outstanding leadership in the community. In his role as Library Executive Director, Kambitsch has fostered partnerships, responded to community needs, elevated important causes, and created community pride. An alumnus of Leadership Dayton, Kambitsch recently announced his intention to retire in February, 2021.
“Tim’s leadership has been evident over his long tenure with DML, but it’s been especially relevant over the past year, as our community has dealt with tornadoes, societal inequities, and the pandemic,” said Diane Farrell, a Leadership Dayton alumna and Director of External Relations and Development for the Library.
When the 2019 tornadoes destroyed Dayton area homes, Kambitsch reorganized Branch Libraries to be response centers, helping people connect with critical services. When racial turmoil reached a boiling point, he leveraged the reach of the Library to foster understanding through community discussions. When COVID-19 struck families and the economy, he expanded Library service to include free meal distribution.
“Tim’s leadership is one of collaboration, recognizing that we are more effective when we work together,” said Farrell. “One of the reasons DML programs are so successful is because they are often the result of collaboration with outstanding partners such as the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Learn to Earn Dayton, and other regional organizations. These trusted partnerships don't happen overnight; they are built through years of Tim's demonstrated commitment.”
In 2012, the voters of Montgomery County overwhelmingly endorsed a new DML facilities improvement plan. Over the past 8 years, Kambitsch has worked to deliver on the promises of the Libraries for a Smarter Future plan, including 16 new Branch Libraries, a new Main Library, and an Operations Center. The plan is now in its fourth and final stage, with just four projects remaining.
“Tim’s leadership guides every aspect, from location selection to building design to creating a welcoming environment for learning,” said Farrell. “He does all this with an eye on fiscal responsibility and a dedication to inclusion, with the goal of supporting local minority- and woman-owned businesses. When each new or renovated Library opens its doors, patrons are wowed by the technology, art installations, community spaces, and other assets in their neighborhoods.”
Kambitsch began his Dayton library service in 1972 as a teen shelving books. After receiving his education, he returned as a reference librarian, and eventually led the technology department. He took on the role of Executive Director in 2001.
In receiving the award, Kamibitsch thanked Leadership Dayton for the recognition and acknowledged his fellow award winners. “I’m grateful to be inducted into a group of previous award winners that include leaders from The Foodbank, Learn to Earn Dayton and other outstanding organizations,” he said.
“It has been an incredible honor to serve residents of Montgomery County as the Executive Director of the Dayton Metro Library. This institution has given me a lifetime of opportunities. The responsibility of leading a talented and dedicated team for 20 years has been so rewarding, and the support we have received from the community has allowed us to accomplish so many amazing things together.”
Leadership Dayton, a program of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, is a premier leadership development program designed to identify, educate and motivate a network of community leaders, to increase the individual’s capacity to serve the Dayton region, and to advocate continual engagement in support of the Dayton region. It is the fourth oldest continuously operating community leadership program in the U.S., now celebrating its 44th year.