After a stalemate prompted one of the three applicants to the Del Norte County Library district board to withdraw her name, the four sitting directors on Friday voted unanimously to bring back a familiar face.

Colleen Luttrell will fill a seat vacant since Edwin Walrath III resigned in November. She will serve on the board until her seat comes up for election in 2020 but she said she will not run for re-election.

“I just missed it and I’m going to be moving and this is my project,” Luttrell said, adding she will be moving to Southern Oregon in about three years.

Luttrell, who is the volunteer coordinator for library’s Smith River branch, had been a long time member of the board of directors until she resigned in September 2015. At that time, former library manager Teena Capshaw told the Triplicate Luttrell had stepped down for personal and medical reasons.

The other applicants vying for the vacant position on the library board included Klamath resident Jeanne Riecke and College of the Redwoods library technician Lynn Durkee.

Riecke said she has lived in the Klamath area for about 20 years and has served on the boards of directors for the Klamath Community Center and the Klamath Senior Center. In addition to paying bills and overseeing the operation of both entities, Riecke said she has been involved with them as they are seeking to merge. She said that will require a new tax ID.

Riecke said she also has experience years ago working with the California State Library to help get resources for the tiny library in Klamath. However, that library needs improvements, she said, including additional computers. Riecke said she was hoping that being involved on the library board would help the Klamath community have access to better resources.

Durkee, who recently obtained a master’s degree in library science and has lived in Crescent City for about 10 years, said she’s hoping to help the library find a safer, larger, more accommodating location. However Durkee expressed misgivings about the time commitment required to be on the board of directors. She said she had been asked to serve on the library board for several years and felt she may be able to put in the time.

“If I am selected for this I definitely will put in the time, but there’s a part of me that’s worried that I may still have too much on my plate and I may not be able to do it as well as I wish I could,” Durkee said. “I wanted to come in part because the library does matter and the board does matter to me and I feel like if I was still the best candidate then I need to do it; then I want to do it.”

Despite Durkee’s doubts about being able to serve on the board, she was still the first choice for board president Angela Stanley and director Sierra Schenck. Stanley, who disclosed that she knows Durkee personally and that their sons play together, said she felt Durkee’s degree in library science could be an asset for the Del Norte County Library.

Stanley’s colleagues on the board, Dean Valero and John Roberts, favored Luttrell, praising her experience with the Del Norte County Library as well as her dedication as a volunteer for the Smith River branch.

“You work very diligently,” Valero said to Luttrell. “Everyone has their strengths and I believe Colleen has a strength that we probably need on the board.”

The board as a whole also thanked Riecke for applying for the vacant position. Stanley said she and the current library manager, Shane Pipinos-Gausepohl had a recent discussion on how to bring more resources to Klamath.

When Durkee saw the library board had reached a stalemate, she said she felt it would be best if she withdrew her name to allow the board to move forward.

“I don’t want the library to remain in a stalemate and to try to reinvent the whole wheel,” she said. “I have only been to four meetings and I think that puts me at a disadvantage. I need to understand it better and perhaps play a bigger role in the library.”

Luttrell’s appointment to the Del Norte County Library Board of Directors will be presented to the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors for final approval later this month.

Stanley said having all the seats filled will allow the board to move forward with strategic planning and raising funds for a new location for the library outside of the tsunami zone.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at jcejnar@triplicate.com .

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