After a three-month search, the Corbin Public Library Board voted Thursday night to name Donna Chadwell as the new library director.
Chadwell, who works at a local accounting firm that has kept the library’s books, was selected from among eight applicants that received interviews.
“I’m very excited,” Chadwell said following the board’s vote at a special called meeting.
“Corbin is my home. I have grown up here.”
“I would not go anywhere else.”
Chadwell said she became more interested in the library after she began attending board meetings in May as part of her bookkeeping duties.
“I would get excited about ideas and I want to be a part of this,” talking about the annex and the upcoming expansion.” I want to look for more ways to engage the community,” Chadwell said when asked what led her to apply for the position.
Following the interviews, the board met in executive sessions on at least three different occasions to discuss the applicants.
“This has been going on since August,” Board Chair Brenda Jones said of the search for the new director.
Board members Rob Mitchell and Anne Hoskins said Chadwell’s notoriety in the community and her involvement in the community are two of the things that separated her from the other applicants.
“She already knows how to move our library forward and how to help us in the next phase as we move into the annex,” Jones added
Chadwell said one of the things the board members said they wanted in a director was someone that could run a business.
“That is where I have a lot of years of experience,” Chadwell said explaining she spent 12 years running a pathology lab.
While doing the library’s books, Chadwell said there were several instances where she believed the library could be doing something in a better way.
“I pointed stuff out and said we could do this or we could do that,” Chadwell said. “The board liked that I not only questioned things, but I brought suggestions.”
Chadwell said she has been searching other library websites and compiling a list of things that they offer that Corbin doesn’t.
“I love looking at what other people are doing. I think that is a good way to learn,” Chadwell said..
“Everything, of course, isn’t going to fit our community. But I’m looking forward to seeing what I can bring to it,” Chadwell added.
Chadwell said her first order of business is to get settled into the job and learn what everyone’s role is.
One of the programs she is already looking at involves ways to improve is the summer reading program.
“Not just in our library, but across the country, the program is huge,” Chadwell said adding it has the support of the local school systems because it helps keep students from regressing academically during the summer break.
“Even though it seems early to be talking about that in December, it isn’t because I hope to look at some fresh ideas.
Chadwell said as director, she is willing to take into consideration any and all suggestions from the public to make the library better.
When asked about expanding the library’s hours, Chadwell said she would not be opposed if it is something that is needed in the community.
“We would have to research the need,” Chadwell said adding she has regularly seen a sizeable crowd at the library right up until closing time.
The board took a moment to recognize Interim Director Anna Smith, who has been overseeing the library since May.
“We appreciate it, more than you know. You have done a wonderful job.” Jones told Smith who was in attendance at Thursday’s meeting.
Smith took the position following the resignation of Heather Croley Fore.
However, Smith made it clear that she was not interested in taking the position on a full-time basis.