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Massena Library Board seeks new director

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MASSENA - The Massena Public Library’s Board of Directors will be looking for a new director after accepting the resignation of Lynn M. Fountain during a special meeting Monday night. Her resignation is effective May 19.

Ms. Fountain had received a provisional appointment as the library director starting May 31, 2011. She was named the permanent director in October 2011 after successfully completing the civil service exam.

She had replaced Paul L. Schaffer, who retired at the end of May after 27 years at the helm of the Massena Public Library.

Ms. Fountain, who was raised in Massena, had 13 years of experience in both public and academic libraries under her belt when she joined the library last year. Prior to taking over as library director, she was an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

She holds a B.A. cum laude in anthropology from the University of Rochester; an M.S. in library science from San Jose State University, San Jose, Calif.; and a J.D., honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law, Hartford, Conn.

Board President John W. Acton said Ms. Fountain had expressed a desire to return to the legal profession and intends to stay in the Massena area.

“The board regretfully accepted Ms. Fountain’s letter of resignation. I speak for the Massena Public Library Board of Trustees and staff when I offer our heartfelt thanks to Lynn for a year of innovative leadership. She will be missed at our library, and we are glad to hear she is staying in our community,” he said.

Mr. Acton said the library and community will miss “the leadership and innovation” that highlighted Ms. Fountain’s tenure as library director.

He said that, in addition to obtaining grant monies from the Northern New York Library Network for computer enhancements, the library also partnered with the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services to operate a new Adult Career Center in the library, and also developed long-range strategic plans for the library.

Those initiatives will continue to be supported by the board and Ms. Fountain’s successor, he said.

The board moved into executive session Monday night to discuss their plans to replace Ms. Fountain.

“We hope not to go through a four- to five-month process. We just went through all the civil service hoops (in 2011), and civil service says we don’t have to go through that again. We still have a list to work from. We just started the process tonight,” Mr. Acton said.

If they’re not able to name a replacement prior to May 19, Mr. Acton said the library will continue to function well, with another licensed librarian and assistant librarian on the staff.

“No matter where we end up, we have a real strong staff,” he said.

As library director, Ms. Fountain has managed all aspects of library operations, including fiscal management, fundraising, grant writing, programming, supervision of staff, collection development, reference work and building maintenance.

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