The Saugerties Public Library is in search of a new director. Sukrit Goswami, who most recently held that position, has resigned, telling Saugerties Times that he’s accepted a new position as executive director at a library consortium near Philadelphia. Staff librarian Tiffany Lydecker will act as interim director in Saugerties until a permanent director is hired.
“We’re definitely keen on finding someone who is good with community outreach,” says Mary Leahy, president of the Library Board. Saugerties is a community with a spirit of volunteerism, she adds, and the board is looking for a director who can make the most of that. “We’re looking for somebody who can connect with other groups in the community, the schools and service organizations, and work together. We’d like our director to be someone who’ll be actively involved in the Chamber of Commerce and attend events, and meet the community where they are.”
Leahy says that Goswami’s contribution as director was his focus on technology, like the program he initiated to lend out e-readers to library patrons. She says the staff deserves a lot of credit for that as well, in achieving the training necessary to educate library patrons on the use of the devices. “The staff are all excellent at their individual jobs,” says Leahy.
Goswami says he’s proud of initiating the e-reader lending program in Saugerties and increasing the operating hours for the library, which allowed more people in the community to take advantage of its services. Under his leadership, he says, the programming offered at the library was tripled “and in some cases quadrupled” during the last two years, and adds that the library’s History Room digitization project he worked on is now being used as a prototype for the entire 66-library system.
A methodical process
Applications for the library director position will be accepted through the end of July or until the position is filled. According to Leahy, the process of hiring a new director is a slow one, with much “dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s” to consider before making a final decision. It will likely be September or October before the new director is appointed, she says, and even then, whomever is appointed will serve in a probationary capacity until they pass the civil service exam for Library Director I and score within the top three slots.
Preferred qualities for a director candidate include “at least one year of experience in an administrative capacity and demonstrated ability in budget management, community outreach, progressive programming, library technology and equipment and facilities maintenance.”
The hiring decision is up to the Saugerties Public Library Board of Trustees, who work closely with the library director in deciding on the vision of the library and how it should function within the community, setting its operating policies and overseeing management of the budget.
The library’s attorney will be consulted during the hiring process to ensure that all regulations are followed, says Leahy. The candidates will be interviewed and assessed by a personnel committee headed up by Library Board member Cynthia Saporito, one of three new trustees elected last fall. Saporito is senior vice president and C.O.O. of Sawyer Savings Bank, with experience in personnel management. The committee will also survey the library staff to ask what they’d like to see in the new director. “We’ll probably have a library staff member on the hiring committee, too,” Leahy adds. The committee will make their hiring recommendation to the rest of the board, who will then vote on whether to appoint the committee’s choice.
In the meantime
Acting interim director Tiffany Lydecker, already responsible for generating the programming for adults offered at the library, says she hasn’t decided yet whether to apply for the permanent position as director. At this point, Lydecker says, everyone at the library is concentrating on business as usual. “Our staff is working hard and making sure nothing is forgotten, and that our patrons have all the opportunities they always have.”
Leahy says that the Board of Trustees is looking forward to interviewing director candidates and seeing what their ideas are. “We’re looking forward to a fresh new start with new leadership.”