FONDA — The Frothingham Free Library, located on Main Street the heart of the village, is seeking a new, long-term director with a love of community and an ability to perform many functions. Following the mid-August departure of former director Shannon Aldi-Hogan, Linda Bell recently stepped in as interim director.
“I’m prepared to be here as long as they need me,” said Bell of the Frothingham Free Library Board of Trustees, which is currently taking applications and will begin interviews in September.
“I’m pretty well versed in library functions,” having served on the Board of Trustees for many years, Bell said. “So, hopefully I can move us forward instead of just holding a seat.”
Board of Trustees President Judy Kelly said of the temporary appointment, “Linda is an absolutely wonderful person to have as interim director. She loves the library and knows it top to bottom.”
Kelly pointed out that the person eventually appointed director “has to wear a lot of hats. Our director does everything” across the 26-hour work week.
The new director will be responsible for hiring, firing and scheduling employees, developing a budget, creating and leading programming, ordering and signing-out books, and communicating with the Mohawk Valley Library System to make sure Frothingham Free Library remains in compliance with state regulations.
The new director also will be tasked with constantly updating library policy.
“We need somebody to write grants as well,” Kelly added. “Because we function on the goodwill of our community through fundraisers and grants, we need somebody that’s strong in the grant-writing department.”
Also of great importance will be the appointee’s capacity to integrate themselves into the community. Kelly pointed out that the facility’s director, “needs to know the people that are involved in making decisions as to financial support from our towns and villages,” and will sometimes be required to attend municipal meetings.
“We’re also looking for a good communicator that knows the community well, and is willing to work with the Board of Trustees to develop the highest quality of experience,” she said.
Bell said that though her tenure as interim director may be relatively short-lived, “while I’m here, I want to make sure everything goes smoothly and make sure nothing moves backwards. I’ll be moving things along as best as I can so the next person isn’t playing catch up.”
The library is also looking for a director who plans to hold the position long term. Kelly noted that “the creek right next to us has become a liability to the library.” As such, the next several years will be spent attempting to secure grants aimed at the mitigation of potential future flooding.
“We need somebody that’s going to be with us for a while, and is willing to step into a situation that may be changing,” Kelly said. “We do have some issues facing us,” including a potential future move, “and we need a person who is not afraid of issues.”
And finally — but importantly — the new director should “love to read and know the importance of reading,” Kelly stated. “And it should be somebody who likes to have fun!” The Frothingham Free Library has a service area of over 7,000 residents.
Those applying for the position should hold a bachelor of science degree in any subject.
Among other things, the library hosts community computer stations, tutoring, and simply offering a space to escape heat, cold or the outside world.
“When you love the library,” said Bell, “it’s just a joy to be involved in the things we do for the community, children and people that come in. People love to read, so they’re usually happy when they’re here! If you love books, and you love the library, and you love people, it’s a really nice place to be.”