Great Neck Library appoints George Trepp as new interim director

Robert Pelaez
Great Neck Library trustees appointed George Trepp as the new interim director on Wednesday night. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Great Neck Library Board of Trustees appointed George Trepp as interim library director last Wednesday while the search for a permanent replacement goes on. 

Trepp will succeed former acting Director Tracy Van Dyne, whose last official day was Friday, according to the board. Efforts to reach Van Dyne for comment were unavailing.

Prior to the appointment, Trepp gave the board and members of the public who were virtually in attendance a brief overview of his experience in libraries throughout the state. Trepp, a product of a Bronx education, said he was the director at the Long Beach Public Library for 38 years. 

Some of the more strenuous tasks Trepp said he endured at Long Beach were an asbestos removal in 1986, an expansion of the library in 1996, and managing the cleanup of flooding and damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

“We were one of the three libraries that were closed after Sandy and it was my task, essentially, to put the library back together again after extensive flooding,” Trepp said.

One of the initial ways Trepp said he will interact with the library staff is to set up virtual or in-person meetings and go over any questions, comments or concerns people may have in any aspect of the library’s day-to-day functions. Trepp said a goal is to remain transparent and open to the staff and patrons of the library. Trepp also said he will ask each member of the board for three top priorities for the library.

“I want board members to identify three priorities that we can address immediately in addition to obviously working in cooperation and with the staff,” Trepp said. “I’m very much a walk-around person, I know that’s difficult now … I drop into departments, ask how they’re doing, see if there are any problems, anything that you want to bring to me, I will entertain no matter how nutty it may sound.”

Trepp said he can be a bit “nutty” on occasion as well, clarifying that sometimes thinking outside of the box can be beneficial for a staff.

Board Vice President Liman Mimi Hu said her main concern was the level of anxiety from the community and staff members over ongoing partnership projects and discussions with the schools and the library that may slip through the cracks.  Trepp said he would want to meet with school officials to establish a rapport and to meet with Van Dyne and other department heads immediately and ensure that none of the ongoing or pending discussions go unfulfilled.

In terms of adhering to policies and procedures for the library staff, a subject Hu said is paramount in the library, Trepp said he holds abiding by policies in high regard and has experience developing policies from his tenure at Long Beach.

“I do consider policies extremely important,” Trepp said. “They are guidelines that aren’t there to hamper the staff or the public, but rather to guide them.”

Trepp said he was excited to get to know the staff and the Great Neck community more and to help facilitate a constructive and productive culture for the library.

“There are a lot of people on this team that I am very excited to work with,” Trepp said. “But this isn’t a one-person show, it’s a team show. And there is no ‘i’ in team.”

The announcement was made with less than a month to go before library elections.

The trustees decided at a meeting on Sept. 22 to hold elections in person this year on Oct. 26.

“Personally I am in favor of having in-person voting,” board President Weihua Yan said. 

Hu said that usually for mail-in ballots the turnout is three to four times higher than in person.

Trustee Chelsea Sassouni agreed with Yan, adding that she is not sure if there is enough time to allow voting by proxy.

“I do not expect a large turnout,” Sassouni said. “There’s a lot of room to social distance.”

Polls will open on Monday, Oct. 26, at the Main and Parkville branches from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For more information visit the Great Neck Library at

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