Rudnicky says she’s proud of her work at Hoag Library

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 March 2014 at 12:00 am

Says she battled with board over budget

Susan Rudnicky

ALBION – Susan Rudnicky was back in Hoag Library on Thursday, first using the site as a patron. Later in the day, she attended a session about Depression glass. That was a fund-raiser for Friends of the Library, where Rudnicky volunteers as a member.

“You don’t put your heart and soul into an institution for 16 years and then let go just like that,” Rudnicky said about her connection to the library.

On March 11 she was dismissed as director of the library by the board of trustees. She served as director for 16 years, and helped get the new library built, writing grants that secured $800,000 toward the project. The new site more than doubled the space from a historic structure on Main Street.

The new library has seen circulation jump about 50 percent from the old site. Total circulation topped 100,000 for the first time in 2013, reaching about 120,000. At Swan, circulation typically was about 80,000 annually.

“I’m proud of this building,” Rudnicky said. “They had been talking about it since I don’t know when.”

Board President Kevin Doherty said last week during a board meeting that Rudnicky didn’t follow board directives. That was why she was dismissed. She didn’t do anything illegal, Doherty said.

He didn’t specify the directives that were not followed, but said Rudnicky and the board often were at odds, going back for years.

Rudnicky said there was tension between her and the board over the library budget. She didn’t think the board approved a budget that fully covered the library’s operational needs.

The new library is open eight more hours a week than the former Swan Library, and it’s open nine more Saturdays and four more holidays – Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Good Friday and Columbus Day. Swan had 9.5 full-time equivalents for staff and that has dropped to 8 FTEs at the new site.

“It was hard to bring the staffing under budget,” Rudnicky said. “The pressure was trying to man that desk. It takes a certain number of people.”

Rudnicky would have liked more time on the job rather than her hasty exit on March 11 when she was escorted out of the building during business hours.

“It was the least graceful way, but I’m not going to let it get me down,” she said.

At 64, she is back on the job market, sending out resumes. She said it will be difficult to find a comparable job locally. She would like to keep working until she’s 70.

For now she remains committed to serving as president of the Cobblestone Society Museum. If she can find a job in the area she would like to stay involved with Friends of the Library.

She urged the community to continue to support the library, and honor their fund-raising pledges.

“The new building was the realization of a dream for me, along with a bunch of other people,” she said. “I just hope that people of good will take that dream forward.”