LIBRARY TRUSTEES REVERSE RESTRUCTURING DECISION

by Christian Mower on September 24, 2012

CONWAY PUBLIC LIBRARY TRUSTEES HAVE REVERSED THEIR DECISION AND WILL NOT IMMEDIATELY PROCEED WITH A PROPOSED RESTRUCTURING PLAN THAT CAUSED A PUBLIC UPROAR AND COULD HAVE ENDED THE CAREERS OF FOUR LIBRARY EMPLOYEES.

A STATEMENT POSTED ON THE LIBRARY’S WEBSITE SAYS THE LIBRARY WILL CLOSE THURSDAY AFTERNOON, SEP. 27 AT 3:30 P.M. TO ALLOW ALL EMPLOYEES TO ATTEND A PUBLIC MEETING AT THE LIBRARY WITH THE TRUSTEES TO ADDRESS THE SITUATION.

LIBRARY TRUSTEE TED SARES SAYS THE DECISION TO RESCIND THE RESTRUCTURING PLAN ANNOUNCED SEPT. 18 WAS MADE AT A PUBLIC MEETING OF THE TRUSTEES AT THE LIBRARY SATURDAY AFTERNOON. HE SAYS TWO MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ATTENDED.

THE RESTRUCTURING PLAN SAID FOUR CURRENT STAFF MEMBERS WOULD BE AFFECTED BUT THEY HAD BEEN ADVISED THEY COULD RE -APPLY FOR THE NEW POSITIONS.

STAFF MEMBER OLGA MORRILL – WHO WORKS AT THE LIBRARY AS PROGRAM COORDINATOR – HAS BEEN THERE 23 YEARS. THE OTHER THREE AFFECTED INCLUDE KATE DARLINGTON – WHO SERVES AS INTER LIBRARY LOAN AND REFERENCE LIBRARIAN – SHE’S BEEN THERE 24 YEARS; BETTY PARKER –ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN AND TECHNICAL SERVICES, WHO HAS BEEN THERE ABOUT 30 YEARS, INCLUDING VOLUNTEER SERVICE; AND YOUTH SERVICES LIBRARIAN JANIS MINSHULL, A FORMER DIRECTOR OF A VERMONT LIBRARY WHO HAS BEEN AT THE CONWAY PUBLIC LIBRARY FOR SIX YEARS.

THE PROPOSED NEW POSITIONS INCLUDED HEAD OF PUBLIC SERVICES/ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, HEAD OF YOUTH SERVICES AND LIBRARIANS FOR TECHNOLOGY SERVICES AND REFERENCE SERVICES.

IN A PUBLIC STATEMENT RELEASED SEPT. 18 LIBRARY DIRECTOR TARA THOMAS SAID THE LIBRARY WAS IN A TIME OF TRANSITION AND SHE AND THE TRUSTEES HAD AGREED ON THE RESTRUCTURING PLAN BECAUSE “IT’S CRITICAL TO USE OUR STAFF RESOURCES EFFECTIVELY.”

THE PLAN DREW HEAVY CRITICISM AFTER IT WAS ANNOUNCED, DRAWING PROTESTERS TO THE LIBRARY, CRITICAL LETTERS TO THE EDITOR AND A COLUMN IN THE CONWAY DAILY SUN DENOUNCING THE DECISION – AND A CRITICAL EDITORIAL FROM THE SUN ITSELF.

SARES SAYS IT TAKES COURAGE TO ADMIT YOU MADE A MISTAKE – AND EVEN THOUGH THE RESTRUCTURING STILL NEEDS TO BE DONE – THE TRUSTEES HAVE ADMITTED THE WAY THE SITUATION WAS HANDLED WAS WRONG. HE HOPES THURSDAY’S MEETING WILL BE A WAY TO MEET WITH THE LIBRARY’S STAFF WITH THE ISSUE ON THE TABLE – AND GET THINGS MOVING IN A POSITIVE DIRECTION.