Council interviews candidates to fill vacant committee seats
A library volunteer who archives Jamestown Press editions and a town employee may become the two newest members of the Jamestown Philomenian Library Board of Trustees.
Nancy Logan, who previously served as president of the library board, and Karen Montoya, the town’s canvassing clerk, have applied to fill two vacancies created when Eugene Mihaly and Rosemary Forbes Woodside resigned.
The council accepted those resignations on Monday night.
Also Monday, the council appointed Craig Watson to the library board to fill a three-year term ending Dec. 31, 2015.
After the regular meeting adjourned, the town councilors interviewed Logan and Montoya in a special session held in council chambers. They also noted they would not have to choose between the two candidates because two positions are open on the board.
Logan said she has served before on the library board but had to resign due to term limits. In all, she has served nine years.
Mihaly asked her to remind him about the bylaw, which requires a former board member to stand down for at least one year after reaching the term limit. Logan has fulfilled that obligation, he said. She has been away from the library board for two years.
Councilor Blake Dickinson asked Logan about her activities over the two-year break. Logan said she served on the Bike Path Design Committee. However, the panel has not met since last January because its work is complete, pending a wetlands permit from the state Department of Environmental Management.
If appointed, Logan would be coming on the board at “a very interesting time,” Mihaly said. “Libraries have to rethink what they are.”
Councilor Mary Meagher asked Logan if she had any priorities.
“Are there things you want to focus on?” Meagher asked.
“Nothing really special,” Logan replied.
Mihaly said libraries have changed with the times, and have become more of a community center.
Logan said the library offers a busy schedule of events of community interest, with so many listings in the Jamestown Press and the library newsletter that no one could attend all of them.
“All the events are free,” she added.
Logan said she has worked as a professional librarian in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Although she has been active in many organizations since she moved to Jamestown, she most enjoys the library board.
Montoya said she was applying for the board position because she has worked in libraries before and always loved them.
Her first library card came from the Bookmobile, which drove past her playground.
Mihaly asked her how she thought libraries should evolve. “Because that’s the issue we really should be dealing with,” he said.
Montoya, who grew up in Chicago, said its library was “fantastic” and could be a model for the Jamestown library.
“What makes it fantastic?” Mihaly asked.
Montoya replied the reading room and the collection of DVDs and CDs.
The library offerings reach a wide variety of people, she said, and added the Jamestown Philomenian Library also reaches a wide audience, though on a smaller scale than the libraries in Chicago.
Council President Kristine Trocki said she is impressed about the library’s ability to access books all over the state through the interlibrary loan program. Her 92-yearold grandmother enjoys large-print editions of romance novels, she said. Although she is a voracious reader, Trocki and her sister have managed to keep her supplied with books from all over Rhode Island.
Trocki also said the local library is keeping up with high technology. She recently used her library card to download an e-book to her iPad.
Meagher noted that Montoya has worked with children and has been a case manager for developmentally disabled youngsters. She suggested Montoya might be able to help make sure library offerings are accessible to disabled people, and also might have some ideas for the children’s library.
“I always wanted to kind of do something,” Montoya said. “But it never felt like a good fit.”
She has worked in school libraries and is impressed with the work the head librarian in Jamestown is doing. Montoya likes the new website, the availability of e-books and special programs. She would like to draw in schoolchildren from the Melrose and Lawn Avenue schools, she said, and agreed there are opportunities for the library to work with the schools, especially with homework assignments to be done on the computer.
The council completed the interviews but did not vote Monday to make the appointments. According to Town Clerk Cheryl Fernstrom, the procedure is to take the vote at an upcoming meeting after the candidates’ names have appeared on the council agenda.