Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Washington Post: Wanted: Library Director Able to Fix Problems in Virginia's Largest System

With stellar health benefits and an annual salary of as much as $183,665, the job overseeing Virginia’s largest library system would seem easy to fill.  
But several candidates being considered by Fairfax County have decided they do not want the job— a reflection, officials and advocates say, of the challenge of finding a top-notch leader at a time when budgets are tight, experts are in high demand and the public is divided over the extent to which libraries should embrace a more digital approach.  
Initially hoping to fill the position by the end of this year, Fairfax officials have temporarily called off a nationwide search to replace library director Samuel Clay, who is set to retire in March and has been pilloried by book-lovers angry about Clay’s efforts to make county libraries less about print.

A person who was offered the director’s job earlier this month declined to take it, saying the area’s cost of living is too high, Fairfax officials said. Two other applicants withdrew from consideration after being interviewed, saying they didn’t think they were “a good fit” for the county, library board vice-chair Karrie Delaney said.

Citing confidentiality rules, county officials declined to name the applicants.

“We were thrilled” about getting close to hiring someone, said Charles Fegan, chair of the county’s Library Board of Trustees. “And, then, out of the blue, I got a telephone call or e-mail from the human resources department saying that the person had rejected the offer and would not consider it under any circumstances.”

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