HANSON — As staff and patrons continue coming to grips with the loss of late Library Director Nancy Cappellini, work is underway to keep the facility running smoothly and name a successor.
“I think right now people are still in a state of shock,” Library Foundation Chairman Jennifer Hickey said last week. “I give the staff a lot of credit for putting on a brave face and for working through very difficult circumstances. … You find out what people are made of — and these are good people.”
At the same time, Hickey said the sooner the director’s position is filled on a permanent basis, the better it will be for the facility’s role as a resource for residents.
Selectmen voted Jan. 10 to appoint interim Library Director Karen Stolfer as the Library’s Records Officer. The board’s Wage and Personnel Subcommittee met Tuesday, Jan. 24 to review and approve an updated library director job description. [See page 5.]
“We’ve been working since [Cappellini’s] death to update the job description, because the last time we updated the job description was 2004,” Hickey said. “It’s a lot more technology and programming that has to be done.”
In the past, librarians concentrated mainly on book weeding, acquisition and storage, Hickey said, but that now there is a great deal of programs on all the different devices upon which patrons obtain information in addition to books.
“We had to make the job description match how quickly times have changed,” she said, noting that Town Administrator Michael McCue has been a valuable resource on the protocol of what steps the Foundation must take in the process. “We wanted to make sure we are dotting our ‘i’s’ and crossing our ‘t’s’.”
Stolfer has indicated she is considering applying for the permanent director’s position, but said her first priorities have been the fiscal 2018 library budget and planning February school vacation activities.
“I’m trying to get a sense of whether it’s a good fit [on a permanent basis].” Stolfer said. “Hopefully this will give me an idea of whether I want to try for this official position.”
She admits she is filling some big shoes while she also continues her role as reference librarian and teaching computer classes.
“It’s been tough, but it’s been exciting at the same time,” Stolfer said. “I’ve been trying to get things figured out and putting a budget together … it’s been a lot of work. It’s a learning curve.”
A 13-year library employee, this is the first department budget she’s had to compile.
Hickey said the budget process is an area in which Stolfer’s reference expertise is coming in handy as she pieces information together.
“No one dies at a good time, but this is the budget time,” Hickey said. “I believe we’re already in an extension.”
The first draft had been due Dec. 31 — a time when the staff was still processing Cappellini’s Dec. 22 funeral and patrons’ grief.
Stolfer also said plans for February vacation plans are underway. Kate Godwin is again offering yoga classes as well as a paint class. A children’s sewing class will also be offered.
The job posting will be done through Town Hall, offered first to internal staff for the first two weeks. Stolfer graduated with her MLS in 2005 from Simmons College and started working at the Hanson Public library in September of 2003. A master’s degree in library science is a primary qualification for the job.
“It’s beautiful how it worked, that she already has the qualification,” Hickey said. “I think Karen is going to keep the ship running in the right direction. She’s been doing a very good job under what I consider to be not great circumstances.”
“Karen was the first person Nancy hired,” the library’s Technical Services/Systems Director Antonia Leverone told McCue. “I remember still being the Acting Director when Nancy and I interviewed Karen. … She was a patron as a school kid before she went to Wheaton. Since she came into the reference position she has been a tremendous asset to the library with her computer and reference skills [as well as her] friendly way with the patrons. The staff all think very highly of her, both professionally and as a colleague.”
The rest of the library staff have taken on extra hours to fill in for Stolfer’s reference and desk duties for the time being.
“We’ve been lucky to have had Nancy both as Children’s Librarian and Librarian,” Hickey said.
Cappellini had worked at the Hanson Public Library for about 17 years. “She’s been a welcoming face — people come here and it’s kind of a home away from home.”