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Library director resigns; says failed Measure A was a factor

Patty Hector, director of the Del Norte County Public Library, is resiging after more than three years (The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson).
Patty Hector, director of the Del Norte County Public Library, is resiging after more than three years (The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson).

By Hilary Corrigan

Triplicate staff writer

Del Norte County Library Director Patty Hector resigned Thursday for a job in Santa Rosa.

"It's kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I can't turn down," Hector said of the position with a library service and consulting firm.

But the failed Measure A effort played the deciding factor in her choice to leave.

"I'm still heartbroken," Hector said, noting that many citizens didn't vote. "You feel very let down by the community."

The proposal in June would have provided the library with a more than $400,000 annual budget, compared to its current budget of about $200,000.

Had the proposal passed, Hector would have stayed to enact the programs that library staff planned — hosting author readings, keeping longer library hours, starting children's programs, updating the building and creating a budget to buy books now obtained through donations.

"That's the heart of why I went into this field, was to offer library services," Hector said, noting staff cuts. "We don't even have a reference person to answer questions."

Library board members plan to name Kelley Nolan, the library's literacy coordinator, as director until they hire Hector's replacement. They also plan to start advertising right away.

Hector will leave in December to work at North Bay Cooperative Library System, a network that provides reference and database services to libraries in the North Bay region.

"It's a huge loss to the library and the community," said library trustee Tedd Ward of her resignation.

Board trustee Linda Koreski agreed.

"We're all just sick about losing her," Koreski said.

Hector has led the library for more than three years. She left a $50,000 per year job as an assistant director at Fort Smith Public Library in Arkansas to take the Del Norte County Library director position that pays $47,250 per year.

Along with other staff members, she took a 20 percent pay cut in 2004 during budget crunches.

Trustees expect a challenge in filling the spot that ranks the fourth lowest paid library director position in California. Director positions usually call for a master's degree in library sciences and experience in budgeting, management, circulation, reference and other areas.

Hector pointed to some proud moments over her term — projects that revamped the building's entrance for handicapped patrons, added new carpeting in the children's section and removed tall shelves that blocked the small facility's main area.

She has also enjoyed seeing the library turn into a community hub. Patrons not only seek books and use the Internet, but also hang out to finish puzzles, talk and attend presentations.

"It's a destination in itself," Hector said, noting a recent discussion on agates that drew about 50 people. "People are hungry for that."

But the library could do much more.

"Until you've been to another library, you don't realize what else we can and should be doing," Hector said. "We just have the bare minimum."

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