|By Debbie Gardner|
HAMPDEN If you've visited the Hampden Free Public Library lately, you may have seen a familiar face behind the desk, or among the stacks.
Former Library Director Ellen Bump recently returned to fill the position of acting director.
Head Library Trustee Beth Burger told Reminder Publications that Bump was invited to return to the position, albeit in a temporary capacity, following the departure of the library's most recent director, Carol Scheier, on Dec. 31.
"We were just very pleased that the timing was right, that Ellen would come back," Burger said.
Burger said Bump was not available to return as director when the library reopened July 1, 2006.
The Hampden Free Public Library closed from July 1, 2005, to July 1, 2006, due to a lack of town funding. All of the library's employees, including Bump, took other jobs during the one-year hiatus.
"Ellen was still at Thorton Burgess Middle School [when we reopened] and did not elect to come back, so then Carol Scheier was hired to open the library," Burger said.
Burger had nothing but praise for the Scheier's work in getting the library open and updated.
"That's almost a task that no one knows how difficult it is," Burger said. "When you close down something completely . you no longer get mail, you're not in the system for the cooperating libraries, the computers are not updated on top of a collection that has not been updated in a year . Carol could probably write a book about her experiences.
"She did a really good job for us," Burger continued, noting that Scheier had virtually no model for a library re-start, as only a handful of libraries in this country have ever closed, and most of those closures were not as long as a year.
Burger said the trustees were a bit surprised by Scheier's decision to resign, but they understood her reasons, which included concerns about her child's schedule and the commute from Belchertown.
"She is a working mother," Burger said.
She also praised Bump's commitment to taking on what amounts to two demanding jobs -- one full-time with the school and one part-time with the library -- for the next few months.
Burger also addressed the question of why Bump has been appointed as acting director for the library.
"We really weren't left with much time when Carol resigned," Burger said. "We would have been left with no library director if Ellen was not amenable to coming back [in a temporary capacity]."
Burger said legally, the trustees must post the library director's position and accept applications for that post -- hopefully including Bump's -- when the town votes on the library's operating budget for 2009 at this spring's Annual Town Meeting.
"We look forward to hiring Ellen as the director come our new budget year, which will be the first of July," Burger said.