Estancia Board Resigns Over Librarian Pick

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Laurie Clark
Mountain View Telegraph

The entire Estancia Library Board of Trustees has resigned over the hiring of the new town librarian.

William Bobbe, who was on the board, said the resignation came about because the new librarian was not who the board recommended for the job.

Bobbe said that he and the other four members resigned in protest of Mayor Ted Barela and the town Board of Trustees "ignoring the library ordinances, which call for the library to be the key factor in the advertising, screening, recruiting, interviewing, and nominating a head librarian."

"To go ahead and pretty much ignore the advice and the nomination of the library board was what got everybody pretty well ticked off, thinking if we're an advisory board we should be listened to," Bobbe added. "We just thought we couldn't serve any longer under these conditions. Why go to meetings, why do anything? The most important thing a library board has to do probably in a 10 year period is hire a highly qualified librarian, and that was taken from us."

Barela said that "the library board is an advisory board … that's the capacity that they serve. I didn't violate any ordinance because they are an advisory board."

The town ordinance regarding the hiring of a librarian states that the board shall "establish qualifications for the head librarian and make recommendations to the mayor and governing body relative to such employment."

Bobbe said that he and the rest of the library board recommended the best candidate for the job — they felt their selection was a knowledgeable professional, with experience as a school librarian and "almost" a master's degree in library science — someone who wanted "a career, not just a job."

Instead, the mayor and the town trustees hired someone "who was … a billing clerk at the city, who we feel underhandedly (had been promised the job) way back in March," says Bobbe.

In contrast to the library board's choice, Bobbe says the new librarian, Angela Creamer, has only six credits in library science, has only been an assistant librarian, and "didn't even put (her) supervisor (the former librarian) as a reference, so she knew she wasn't going to get a strong recommendation from that person."

Barela defends the choice of Creamer as the new librarian, and says she was hired for good reason.

He said Creamer made an impression during the interview process.

"She's strictly driven by what she could do to help the community, the library and the town as a whole," Barela said. "We felt that she was the best fit for the position and for the community. And she met all of the qualifications … even in her responses (she was) very excited about how she could make changes and do things that could help the community. First you've got to have a passion to do something, and we felt that this was what this candidate brought to the table."

As far as a future library board, it is written in the town ordinance that the board is appointed by the mayor, with the approval of the majority of the board of trustees. Barela says he is looking into state requirements to see if Estancia can do without one.

"I don't want to say that we don't need a library board," says Barela. "I'm not saying that. Cautiously, I'm looking into it to see what is really needed for us to function on a streamline basis — how can we function more efficiently? What kind of advisement do we actually need?"