Milne hosts forums as part of search for library director

Geneseo is currently in the midst of a search for a new director for Milne Library. A committee of 12 people has conducted the search since former director Cyril Oberlander left in summer 2014. The search committee has narrowed the pool of applicants down to three, announcing that two are current Interim Library Director Kate Pitcher and Daniel Library faculty member at The Citadel Elizabeth Connor. According to distinguished teaching professor of mathematics and search committee member Olympia Nicodemi, the search for a new director officially began in the fall of 2015, although the previous director left in 2014.

“The director was not replaced at that early time because we knew that we were getting a new president,” Nicodemi said. “We wanted the administration to be in place before the search went out.”

The process began with the formation of a search committee. “Right now, there are 12 members on the search committee, including one student,” head of reference and access services Bonnie Swoger said. “The library director is a position one of Geneseo’s governing documents stipulates that there be certain positions on the search committee, including an IT rep and a student member.”

Swoger added that the committee wrote up a job description that was posted in December 2015. Applications were accepted for full consideration until Jan. 18.

“Prior to reviewing applicants, the search committee comes up with a rubric with which to evaluate applications,” she said. “We have the job description and we have to evaluate candidates based on that job description, so we come up with a rubric that helps us to do that in a more objective way.”

According to Swoger, the committee interviewed certain interested candidates by phone. “We had a list of set questions that we asked each of the candidates and then we were able to basically rank each of those answers,” she said. “Based on that, we selected the three candidates that we’re bringing to campus.” These three candidates are to be evaluated in the form of an open forum.

The first of these forums occurred on Monday Feb. 22 and will be followed by one on Thursday Feb. 25 and Thursday March 3. All of these forums are conducted in Doty 300.

Pitcher gave a presentation during the forum on Monday Feb. 22. Her forum was divided primarily into two parts. The first portion was a multimedia presentation on her various potential plans for Milne, while the second portion involved a question and answer session with the audience. Approximately 35 people attended Pitcher’s presentation, including two student attendees.

Pitcher spoke specifically on the importance of staff development. “I think the staff is our greatest asset,” Pitcher said.

Pitcher also spoke about being examined as an internal candidate. “I think it’s always a little bit awkward to be an internal candidate,” she said. “The search committee has made the process as fair and equitable as they can. For instance, the days that other candidates are on campus I will be working in another location, so it can be as fair as possible for the other candidates.”

Nicodemi stressed the importance of the public forum input for the committee’s decision-making process.

“These public forums are very standard for positions of directorship within the college. They are a chance for the entire college community to give input into the choice of the next director,” she said. “Since the library is at the heart of all of our academic endeavors—our research, our studying, our use of data—it’s particularly important that the academic community and the staff has input into this process.”