Board Member Profiles


Bill Porter Kyra Cook Lynda Byrd-Poller
Jim Axtell Pam Franz Vickie Herrick
Sarah Houghland Wilford Kale Sue Mellen


Bill Porter, Chair - coming soon

Kyra Cook, Vice Chair, joined the WRL Board of Trustees in July 2012 and is currently employed by the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation as a program officer.  After obtaining her B.A. in History from the College of William & Mary, Ms. Cook owned and operated a successful pottery and tileworks business for twelve years.  Ms. Cook is very active in the local community, serving on multiple committees, including the Historic Triangle Jamestown 2007 Host Committee, Williamsburg Area Arts Commission, WJCC PTA Council, and most recently the WJCC Strategic Plan Steering Committee.  Regarding her appointment to the Board of Trustees, Ms. Cook writes that, “I’m honored to be on the WRL board because I am passionate about public education of which I believe library systems to be a critical part.  I most appreciate the responsiveness and dedication of the WRL staff.”

Lynda Byrd-Poller, Secretary, joined the Board of Trustees in July 2008.  She holds an Ed.S. from The George Washington University and has worked in the Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools for twenty-two years.  Lynda has served on the United Way Board and is a Diversity Education Facilitator.  She is a lifelong member of this community and serves on the Youth Ministry Team of St. John Baptist Church.  As a member of the Board of Trustees, Lynda is particularly interested in sustaining the quality and access to library services while helping to keep the library agile, accessible, and responsive to the growing and changing needs of print media in this digital age.  

Jim Axtell was appointed to the Board in September 2011. He obtained his B.A. from Yale and his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, as well as being a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. He then taught history for 42 1/2 years at five different colleges, including 30 years at William & Mary, where he was Kenan Professor of Humanities.  Commenting on his appointment to the Board of Trustees, Mr. Axtell remarked, "When I was asked to stand for the library board, I was eager to repay the WRL for its services, pleasures, and acknowledged excellence as one of the very best in the state."

Pam Franz - coming soon

Vickie Herrick joined the WRL Board of Trustees in July 2010.  She holds a B.S. in Accounting from Christopher Newport University.  Vickie has been employed at the City of Williamsburg for thirteen years and currently serves as the Deputy Director of Finance.  She is a native of Williamsburg and has been a patron of WRL since early childhood.  She writes, “I strongly believe both personally and professionally that the library is an essential public service.  I enjoy the privilege and opportunity of gaining a fuller and more complete understanding of all facets and services of the Library.”

Sarah Houghland -  joined the Board of Trustees in December 2006.  Previously, she served on the Friends of Williamsburg Regional Library's Board of Directors as secretary and president and was the founding president of the Williamsburg Regional Library Foundation.  A native of Indiana, Mrs. Houghland graduated from DePauw University and holds a Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  She received a school library certificate from the College of William & Mary, worked at the Williamsburg Regional Library, and was the librarian of a small private school in Williamsburg.  For twenty-five years, she has been a member of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's development staff.  Mrs. Houghland writes, “I have cherished our library’s staff, collections, and programs since moving here many years ago.  The building holds a special place for me because my husband Wright (Chips) Houghland designed the “new” library in the early 1970s.  That building brought vitality to downtown Williamsburg and has continued to serve as a community resource and focal point for the city’s cultural life.”

 Wilford Kale  joined the Board of Trustees in October 2013. He is an alumnus of the College of William and Mary and holds a B. A. in history from Park University. In 2012 he received a master of philosophy degree in history from the University of Leicester, Leicester England. Mr. Kale is a retired newspaperman, having worked for more than 25 years with the Richmond Times-Dispatch as a bureau chief and senior writer. In 2007 he also retired from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, a state agency with headquarters in Newport News after working for 13 years. He has lived in the area for about 50 years. This is his fourth board or commission appointment related to James City County: a charter member of the county Historical Commission (1985-1987), county Planning Commission (1998-2006) and eight months in 2012 as an interim member of the county Board of Supervisors.

Sue Mellen - joined the WRL Board of Trustees in July of 2007. She holds a BS in Accounting from Christopher Newport University and a Masters in Public Administration from Old Dominion University. She serves as the James City County governmental representative and had been employed by the County since 1987.  She is currently the County’s Assistant Director of Finance.  In addition to being an avid user herself, Sue has always appreciated the Library’s Childrens collections and programs as her children used the services during their growing years.  As a member of the Board, she is particularly interested in helping the Library navigate its way through the changing environments that affect the organization.