Pownal library takes steps toward hiring new director


POWNAL — The Solomon Wright Public Library hasn't had to hire someone new in around 30 years.

But now, with the voters' approval of a ballot article to appropriate $15,000 to hire a part-time library director, the board of trustees is working to hire someone to lead the library after the retirement of longtime director Linda Hall last August, who held the position on a volunteer basis.

Voters considered the article after a grassroots petition garnered enough signatures to call a vote. It was approved by a vote of 463 to 246.

On Monday, the board of trustees met for the first time after the March 5 vote, and established a hiring committee of Sarah Sanfilippo and two other board members.

"We also have renovations planned, and other people are working on that, so this is who was available," Sanfilippo said of the people selected.

The committee must finalize a job description, decide where the position will be advertised and come up a salary, which they will probably bring to the full board for a vote, Sanfilippo said.

There's no target date to get someone in the job — but the board isn't waiting around.

"As soon as possible," Sanfilippo said. "Soon. We don't want to sit around."

They also have to research the costs of having an employee, she said.

There have been "a couple inquiries" from local community members about the job, she said.

The exact hours for the position haven't been established either, she said, but it will probably be between 10 and 20 hours a week.

The position requires more funding than the approved $15,000, so the board anticipates seeking other funding, Sanfilippo previously told the Banner.

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"We don't want to ask townspeople for everything," she previously told the Banner. "We figured [$15,000] would be a good amount to help us get to where we need to go."

Hall approached the position as a real job, even though she didn't receive a salary, Sanfilippo said.

So, she said, she doesn't think paying a library director will change that.

"I don't think it will make a change in how the person approaches the job," she said. "But I think it shows the community that the library is important enough that this is something that someone should be paid for."

And, she said, it just feels like something the board should be doing.

The change also fits into the library's efforts to become even more of a community center, Sanfilippo said.

"Linda was such a good person to have there in the first place," she said of the library director. "It's not like we're completing shifting."

But, "just having a new brain at the helm will mean some different things," she said.

"Along with a new director and the renovations that we're planning, we just hope to become even more [of] a community gathering space," she said.

The renovations will improve the library's physical space, including putting windows in the entrance and creating a children's area.

"Everything is happening all at once," Sanfilippo said.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@benningtonbanner.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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