BELGRADE — The town’s newest library director officially starts work on Monday and brings with her more than 16 years experience working in school and college libraries.
The town’s Board of Selectpersons last week approved hiring Janet Patterson of Oakland.
“This will be something new and something exciting,” Patterson said on Wednesday. “I’m looking forward to the new experience.”
Patterson, 40, said she worked in public libraries, but never as head librarian. She replaces Marcia Haigh, who resigned last month to take a full-time post in Sanbornton, N.H.
Michael Barrett, chairman of the library board of trustees, said the trustees reviewed applications and Patterson was selected by a panel composed of three trustees, Selectwoman Melanie Jewell and Town Manager Gregory Gill.
“It was a tough choice frankly, but she had all the right things we were looking for,” Barrett said.
Patterson was previously district librarian for the Winthrop School Department, and prior to that was librarian at Madison High School and in Augusta schools. She also worked in various library departments at the University of Maine at Augusta, where she earned her associate and bachelor’s degrees in library information technology. She earned her master’s of library science from Clarion University, Clarion, Pa.
“I’ve wanted to be a librarian since I was 7,” Patterson said. “I’ve tried out all the different fields.”
Patterson said she is looking forward to working in the town library.
Patterson said she loves to read in all sorts of forms, and enjoys audio books.
“One of my big hobbies is to travel, and I pop it in the car and read on the way,” she said. At the beach, she prefers a paper book in hand, and she also uses the Nook and other electronic devices. “It depends on what I’m doing and what mood I’m in,” she said.
Under the terms of a contract worked out with the town, Barrett said Patterson will work 32 hours a week or more.
At a selectboard meeting in October, Haigh, who had been the town librarian for 12 years, asked the board to consider making the Belgrade job a full-time post with benefits. The library post is for 32 hours a week and carries no benefits. Haigh told the board that the lack of a full-time job with benefits was what caused her to leave.
The Belgrade Public Library is at 124 Depot Road, next to Belgrade Central School, in a former residence that was redesigned and rebuilt and opened Dec. 18. For the previous 12 years, it had been in room at the Community Center for All Seasons.
The library had about 10,000 volumes in circulation last year. The library also had 1,800 cardholders last year “and we’ve increased by 20 percent over the last year or so since we’ve been in the new building,” Barrett said. “It’s grown very nicely. We’re really pleased.”
Barrett said many of the patrons have asked that the library be open on Saturdays, and he added that trustees have proposed the library be open four hours on Saturdays.
Currently $53,461 is proposed for the library budget for the upcoming fiscal year, said Barrett. That figure also includes the $2,000 for the Library Reserve Account.
The library staff also includes a part-time assistant librarian and another person who fills in when necessary and in the summer, Barrett said.