Town to renew search for library director

Dec. 08, 2012 @ 12:08 PM

When former library director Kathleen Thompson retired, town officials knew they would have big shoes to fill.

Thompson, who directed the library for 27 years, helped make it one of the best in the state.  
So, maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that after shuffling through more than 60 applications received by consultants, town leaders were not wowed by any of the applicants for the post and have decided to begin the search anew.
“As we discussed when we started, I will not settle for anything less than the best in leadership for our library,” Town Manger Roger Stancil said in an email message to the Library Board of Trustees. “Finding that best combination of skills and experience may take a little longer than we anticipated.”
Martha Diefendorf, chairwoman of the Library Board of Trustees, said she is a “little disappointed” the town has to begin a new search, but she support efforts to find the best available person for the job.
“The trustees are more than willing to support the town in this process,” Diefendorf said.
She said the town received about 60 applications and narrowed the pool to six candidates who were invited to town for interviews.
“After reviewing the candidates and scoring them, we didn’t find anyone just right for the job,” Diefendorf said.
She said two of the six finalists dropped out of the race and four came to town to be interviewed.
“It was a national search,” Diefendorf said. “We had people come from all over. They were all good candidates but no one was just right.” 
Diefendorf said the best candidate should have a real commitment to the town and be a strong voice for the library.
In addition, she said the new director should be able to engage business leaders and nonprofits and direct the library in such a manner that it reaches a wider audience.
She said the new director must have a strong background in library services and be a team player.
Stancil said he hopes to begin reviewing the new applications in mid- to late January.
Diefendorf said it would have been nice to have the new director on board before the library’s big move to its renovated facility in Pritchard Park this spring.
“I was looking forward to having this phase be over with and moving to the next phase,” Diefendorf said.
The library, which is currently located in University Mall, is undergoing a massive renovation and expansion that is expected to be completed in April.
Stancil named Assistant Director Mark Bayles interim director, but he is not a candidate for the permanent post.