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A Waiting Game At The Library

Published: January 25, 2018

It seems the C.H. Booth Library Board of Trustees was premature in issuing a press release earlier this month, announcing the start date of a new library director. Douglas Lord was to fill the position, vacant since the end of June, beginning January 16.

Last Tuesday came and went with no Mr Lord on site — as did Wednesday (a snowy day with our library opening at 1 pm), Thursday, and Friday. A patron inquiring at week’s end how things were going under a new director, unaware he had not started, was puzzled to find staff seemed equally surprised to not have a director on site. They had been told paperwork had to be completed, with no indication of a start date.

Hardly the kind of answer expected to keep the public informed.

Past experiences over the hiring of a library director can cause unanswered questions to create a sense of uncertainty. When staff is not kept abreast of changing circumstances to the extent that they are unable to provide confident answers, it gives pause.

The truly curious will resort to social media and the internet for answers — right or wrong. The hiring process has apparently been so challenging that an outside consultant, Chris Nolan of Chris Nolan Associates, was brought on board to assist. The candidate selected was one already in the queue. All the more reason for the public to be assured that a thorough vetting of any candidate has taken place.
Responding to concerns, Ms Nolan told this newspaper on Monday that Mr Lord’s suitability had been addressed, “Just as anyone would be.” We trust the board has chosen wisely.

That paperwork Mr Lord had not completed by January 16? The offer was “conditional on completing certain preemployment processes,” Board President Bob Geckle told The Newtown Bee, work that was not yet finished as of Monday, January 22.

Preemployment processes are mainly completed before an offer is made, or on, or shortly after, the start date.

The library director search has been subdued. Information regarding the process has required direct inquiries, rather than having updates offered to a venue — such as this paper — to inform the public.

The C.H. Booth Library is well regarded by patrons and townspeople. It is a lovely building, has an attentive staff, is progressive, and has become a gathering place as much as a place to find good reading material. Who directs the library is of public interest. Changes to public statements need to be clarified to the staff in a manner that is satisfactory to those who work there, as well as any quizzical patrons.

We anticipate an announcement shortly of a new start date, and hope a new director is a fresh start. We would like a new library director to be one warmly welcomed, with no clouds hovering overhead. A fully informed staff and public can make that happen.

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