Leadership changes highlighted at library board meeting

Published 3:43 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

Tuesday’s meeting of the Clark County Library Board of Trustees might be described as more populated than usual, as 15 community members attended .

Anticipated staff changes were a key point of the discussion.

Director Julie Maruskin will be retiring at the end of February and board memeber Dawn Alvarado’s resignation is also expected.

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“Our library is evidently very loved and very used by a wide variety of people,” said local resident Debbie Barnes, who has applied for the anticipated open seat. “I do hope that that remains that way.”

For clarification purposes, one of the items covered during the meeting was how to apply.

Board member Doug Christopher mentioned that the library website had a place to complete the application online, which could be done up until the deadline – with the board appointing a committee to review the different applications.

After the committee returns to the board with two recommended candidates, the board will vote on each.

Afterward, they are forwarded to the Kentucky Department of Library and Archives (KDLA). The latter organization then delivers the two names to the Clark County Judge-Executive, who selects one to fill the vacancy with the approval of the fiscal court.

At the present time, about six applications from the most recent board member search – which ended with the appointment with Scott Hisle – remain.

Director Julie Maruskin will contact those individuals to see if they are still interested, while new applications will also receive consideration.

Doug Christopher spoke to fellow board members.

“I would encourage each of you all, if you know of someone who’s interested in serving on the Board, to submit an application and encourage them to get those applications in by the end of this month”, he said. “That way, at the meeting next month, I can appoint a committee to review those applications, and they can [do so] during the first two weeks of February and report back to the full board at our February meeting.”

While Dawn Alvarado has not officially resigned, Doug Christopher stated that she’s confident she’ll be doing so based on prior conversations.

The second point brought up during the meeting concerned the impending retirement of Director Julie Maruskin.

Several suggestions of where to advertise the job opening were brought to mind.

Suggestions included the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) job site, allowing for exposure across the commonwealth.

“KDLA has [become] even simpler,” said Jeff Gurnee,  the assistant library director at Clark County Public Library. “Now, all they want is [the] title, where you are, when it closes, [and] a link to the job description.”

Additional locations included the Kentucky Library Directors List, Indiana University’s Library School, the University of Kentucky – Library and Information Science (UK SLIS), the American Library Association, and advertising locally.

Regarding qualifications, board members discussed that while the ideal expectations would be for a candidate to have a Master’s Degree, exceptions could be considered – mainly if a candidate is working towards obtaining a higher degree.

Gurnee noted that, currently, the job description says, “this position requires a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from an ALA-accredited post-secondary educational institution. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to obtain appropriate certification [and] a Masters Degree within five years.”

Certifications were also discussed, with Gurnee stating that out-of-state ones likely would be fine.

Working with a consultant also was spoken of, though that isn’t a primary avenue at this time.

“My personal opinion is that I don’t know that consulting is necessary,” Christopher said. “From the internal candidates that we’ll get and from statewide candidates, I think we’ll get a good pool…but that’s something else we can talk about if you decide that you want to do that.”