At the meeting of the Board of Trustees of the C.H. Booth Library on Tuesday, October 8, board members returned to regular board business after weeks of addressing the short and controversial tenure of its recently departed library director. The meeting this week, however, did touch on some issues that have been of recent concern to members of the public.
The Fourth Annual Turkey Trot 5K Road Race, in support of C.H. Booth Library, will be held on Thanksgiving morning, November 28, at 7:45 am.
The course remains the same as last year’s with a start at Hawley Elementary School, a downhill stretch on Main Street past the flagpole, and the finish at Newtown Middle School. A steep hill on Schoolhouse Road at the start of the course and another long hill on Grand Place at the end of the course will guarantee that all runners will earn their stuffing on Thanksgiving Day.
Creating a library director search committee with a clear process, building trust between the board, the community, and the staff, moving the library forward effectively, and increasing the sense of a team working together were the key topics of the special meeting of the C.H. Booth Library Board of Trustees, Tuesday, September 24.
“We all have to do it together, and with transparency,” said board Vice President John Trentacosta.
When non-profit public-service oriented institutions such as school systems or churches have to find new leaders, it differs from a corporate situation because in addition to maintaining efficiency and financial solvency, the new leader must be able to provide inspirational leadership to both the staff and the community being served by that staff.
The Board of Trustees of the C.H. Booth Library has a problem. It has hired a new library director it hoped would lead one of Newtown’s most revered institutions into the future but who has fumbled badly in the first two months of his tenure. Instead of rallying the community around its library to meet the challenges and opportunities of the Information Age, he has failed to connect with his staff and has alienated many of the library’s most steadfast patrons.
As a former C.H. Booth chairman of the board, who occupied the chair during our expansion, I have become disturbed by the happenings at the library, as are many others. It is true that the new director has made some missteps: hiding away Janet Woycik’s picture, firing a popular reference librarian, and upon meeting Janet for the first time, barely acknowledged her and then ordered her to get away from behind the front desk.
The Board of Trustees of the C.H. Booth Library and new Library Director Shawn Fields were criticized repeatedly during the public participation portion of the monthly library board meeting Tuesday, September 1,.
Step onto several of the walkways leading in and out of the Booth Library and you will notice it is lined with bricks. Etched into the bricks are names. Mostly, they are Newtown names – of individuals, of couples and of families, who throughout the years have demonstrated their devotion to the library that welcomed them and which their dedication and donations helped to build.