WPL Reopens on Sunday This Week
TELLURIDE – The Wilkinson Public Library Board of Trustees began the initial phases of finding a permanent director last week. The board adopted a timeline that anticipates making a job offer in the early spring.
The library began the hiring process by asking for community input on finding a new director through an online survey. The survey asked participants to list the qualities they’d like to see in a new director and their vision of Wilkinson Public Library’s future. While there were only a handful of community and library staff respondents, many of them said they wanted a library director with relevant experience and the ability to work well with staff and community stakeholders.
On Friday, the board initiated its search process by constructing a detailed description of the permanent director position. Minimum requirements for a qualified candidate include holding a Master’s degree in Library Science and having five years of “progressively responsible library administration experience.”
“Is five years enough experience?” board president Judy Thompson asked Interim Library Director Brenda Carns during the meeting.
While the board of trustees will make the final hiring decision, Carns, who boasts nearly three decades working in public libraries, will manage the search until the end of her tenure at the library.
Carns said that in addition to having a Master’s degree, she believes that there could be a strong candidate with no more than five years of library administration experience.
“We may have people apply who have the minimum experience in libraries we’re looking for, but individuals may have more than enough relevant experience in other areas we’d like to see, say in human resources management,” said Carns.
Candidates must also possess other skills such as being able to develop relationships and share resources with other community organizations and entities.
Board member Brandt Garber requested that the job description include language detailing the need for candidates to develop strong community partnerships.
After the Jan. 3 deadline for applications, library staff will identify the top ten candidates to interview over the phone. Skype interviews will be scheduled for at least five of those candidates during the week of Jan. 27, and finalists will come to Telluride for in-person interviews and meet with staff and talking with community members in March.
The permanent library director will be paid $84,620 to $122,000 depending on the individual’s relevant experience.
The next library director will start working at the library during a time of shrinking budgets. According to the 2014 draft budget, which is scheduled to be approved on Dec. 12, library revenues will decrease by nearly $350,000 from the year before. Due to staff attrition and a shrinking budget, expenditures in 2014 are estimated at $2.2 million, down nearly $170,000 from the year before. The library will draw down reserves to cover the difference.
The library began searching after its previous director, Barb Brattin, was fired in August. Brattin’s decision to close the library on Sundays, which received support from the board, drew significant criticism from the community, drawing Brattin’s and the board’s leadership into question.
Carns was hired in September, and will serve as interim director until the board selects a permanent director.
Due to the negative feedback generated by Sunday closures and at Carns’s recommendation, the board decided to reopen the library on Sundays, starting Dec. 1. Wilkinson Public Library will be open Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m, and Fridays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. Sundays, the library is open from noon until 5 p.m.
Editor’s note: Seth Cagin is a co-publisher of The Watch and is also a Wilkinson Public Library trustee. He did not contribute to the collection, reporting or editing of this article.