Director Jessica Kerr will be stepping down from her post as Woodstock Library Director citing the inability to commit to full-time work. She did not cite a date as to when her resignation will take place. “It has been terrific being director of the Woodstock library and it is with great regret that I cannot return to full-time work and continue,” Kerr told trustees at their monthly meeting September 16. “But I’m grateful for all that we have accomplished and working with all of you and all of our volunteers. So I’m just excited for what comes next,” she said.
“First of all, I also want to say as head of the Personnel Committee, how devastated everyone is that Jessica has come to the conclusion, finally, that she doesn’t think she can come back full time in any foreseeable future,” Trustee Dorothea Marcus said. “…that’s a very difficult thing for her to accept, and for all of us to accept, I believe. And I know that the community loves Jessica and…the patrons and the staff…it’s going to be a big loss for the library.”
Marcus expressed hope Kerr can be involved in the future as a consultant for projects, grant writing or archival research. “But, the library needs a full-time director and we’ve been kind of stumbling along for a few years; without one it’s a tribute to how much we think of Jessica and how highly we think of her that we’ve let it go on this long,” Marcus said.
Kerr has reduced her time to about 15 hours a week.
Trustees will now begin the search for a new director, which is a civil service position. There are only two qualified people on the civil service list. They will be notified to find out if they’re interested. If not, trustees will search far and wide. A Master’s Degree in Library Science is required.
Kerr was the head librarian for six years before taking the role of interim director from May 31 to September 28, 2015, after director Amy Raff resigned.
Kerr resumed her role as head librarian when Janet Dymond was appointed director, but resigned on October 19, 2015, during a tumultuous time when staff expressed frustration with scheduling and other criticisms of Dymond’s leadership.
Kerr returned in January 2016 as director. In recent years, she has taken medical leaves and cut back her hours due to injuries she sustained when her car was rear-ended while she was on her way to the bank to conduct library business.
Other notable resignations
Dawn Meola has stepped down as head of children’s programming at the Library.
“We are grateful for her work in bringing new programs, engaging local partnerships and collaborations, and welcoming children and families to the library,” Kerr said. “So we really are very short staffed right now. And it’s the personnel committee’s judgment that we should wait until we have a new full-time director and let that person hire someone to replace Dawn,” Marcus said. “Jessica and the staff are meeting to see how supervisory responsibilities may be juggled around. We’re hoping that we can keep the same hours of service but we may have to temporarily reduce our hours of service if necessary.”
Bobby Bui has resigned as trustee, having taken a teaching position at Northeastern University in Boston. For the time being, Bui is still going to maintain a home in Woodstock, but he cannot make the time commitment to continue serving on the board. “I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish as a board and have no doubt that you all will continue to move forward in building a better library for the community,” he said in his resignation letter.
Since there are three candidates running for two board seats, trustees will vote to appoint the candidate who places third for the remainder of Bui’s term, which is one year. The appointee will then need to run for election to a five-year term if they wish to remain on the board.
The candidates are Roz Balkin, Marcia Patten and incumbent Liz Rosen.