FRAMINGHAM – In an unusual, special Friday night meeting, the elected Framingham Library Tristees finalized the process for interviewing and selecting a new Framingham Library Director tonight, July 10.
Library Director Mark Contois will retire in 2020. SOURCE announced the news of Contois’ retirement on January 28.
Contois had announced he would leave this spring, but then extended his retirement date to October. Framingham Public Library Director Contois served as director from 2006 to 2010, and then he left Framingham to become the head librarian for the City of Worcester. In 2012, the Library Trustees re-hired him as Director for Framingham.
Under the new city charter, the elected Framingham Board of Library Trustees is responsible for recommending “to the mayor for appointment a candidate for library director.” The City Council does not vote on this position, under the Charter.
In February, an 11-member search committee was created by Trustree chair Elizabeth Roy, that included 6 of the Trustees. That committee narrowed the applicants, interviewed a few, and identified the two finalists.
The finalists are Framingham Assistant Library Director Lena Kilburn of Milford and Esmé Green of Cambridge, who has been the director of the Goodnow Library in Sudbury since 2011.
Trustees voted Friday night to interview one of the finalists at 7 p.m. on July 15 and interview the other finalists on July 16. The Trustees would meet again on Monday, July 20, and vote on a new director to start in the fall. All three meetings would be public, but held on Zoom remotely, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Framingham libraries are still physically closed to the public due to the pandemic.
Library staff will meet with the two finalists on Monday, July 13.
The main Framingham Public Library on 49 Lexington Street opened its doors in December 1979. The Christa McAuliffe Branch, formerly known as the Saxonville Branch, opened at 10 Nicholas Road in March 1963. It was renamed in 1987 for teacher and astronaut Christa Corrigan McAuliffe. In early 2016 the Branch moved to its brand newly constructed building on 746 Water Street.
Kilburn has been the assistant director of the Framingham Public Libraries since October of 2015. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Supervisor of Branch Services, from January to October 2015. She came to Framingham in January 2013, from Boston University Libraries, when she was hired to be the Assistant Supervisor Children’s Services Framingham Public Library.
Green is the Director of the GoodNow Library in neighboring Sudbury, since march 2011. She leads a staff of 30 employees, manages a collection of 110,000 items with a circulation of 300,000-plus, with an operating budget of $1.3 million.
She was the branch manager for the Central Square library of the Cambridge Public Library from 2006 to 2011.
Green oversaw a $96,000 renovation of the Children’s room, created a teen study week program , and has increased programming for all ages by 68%. According to her resume, attendance at programs is up 159% since she became director.
Green highlight in her resume her work with the Foundation to raise $750,000, with over $200,000 donated to the library for a renovation of the children’s department, to create a gathering space around the library’s new collections, and to purchase 10 iPads, two iMacs, and a portable flat screen with Apple TV device.
Kilburn highlighted in her rsume how she worked alongside Contois to lead the “emergency response to 2015 Main Library fire and closure. Worked to occupy staff for an eight-month closure, create access points to serve our community, and develop a reopening and reengagement plan.”
Kilburn also highlighted how she has worked to grow the “Technology Department, creating a service-oriented full-time
Supervisor of Technology Services position” and worked to “develop the Library of Things, creating a dedicated position and a
In her resume, she highlighted how she “worked with Public Health Department to ensure staff were trained in Naloxone administration in response to opioid crisis” and “oversaw several major Marketing Campaigns including the “Be Amazed: Books are Just the Beginning” campaign and the new Library banners.”
Kilburn, in her resume, noted the “creation of new website and creation of Social Media Committee” and how she “developed
and installed a new Citizenship Corner to offer a one-stop location for access to English Language Learning and citizenship materials.”
Finally, Kilburn wrote in her resume she “applied Director’s “Rethink, Repurpose, Redeploy” process to each newly vacated position to ensure relevant services and activities.”
The Trustees also voted 8-3 to allow individual Trustees to meet with the candidates in-person if they choose. Voting against the motion was Ruth Winett, Nancy Coville-Wallace, and Art Feinstein.
Three of the Trustees – Eric Doherty, Bob Dodd, and Roy – had expressed an interest to do that as the interviews will be held on Zoom.
“I personally would like to meet the candidates in person,” said Roy.
Several of the Trustees had no interest in meeting with the candidates in person, but did not want to prohibit other Trustees from doing so.
“I personally don’t feel comfortable meeting the candidate in person right now,” said the newest Trustee Heather Klish. But she didn’t want to prohibit other Trustees, so she voted in favor of the motion.
“I’m with Heather — at my age — not yet ready to meet in person,” said Trustee Jan Harrington, who also supported other Trustees to meet and voted in favor of the motion.
The Trustees also discussed topics for questions, and a process for the interviews during the one-hour plus meeting.
The original hiring schedule had to be adjusted as the City’s Zoom administrator was on vacation this week. The plan was for staff to meet the finalists this week, and Trustees to interview next week. Instead everything is in the same week in a condensed format.