Former library chief sounds off

My name is Audrey Taylor, the former executive director of the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library.

To the community of Randolph County and surrounding areas, I want it known that my unexpected resignation from the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library was not done lightly, but with a heavy heart. I consider myself as being forced out by the new members on the board of trustees. This has been building for about a year now, ever since they hired the new capital campaign director. I was told she would have my job by a friend, but did not heed the warning, so now she does.

I had worked at the library since 1989 and got all my degrees while working there, planning on it being my job until I was ready to retire. But the staff and myself have been treated badly by these new members. They took away all benefits that have been given since I started to work there and claim it is due to lack of funding. Raises have not been given as they should have been. They have even cut out the housekeeping, making the staff clean while working. This caused morale to be very low among the staff and, when the library says they have no money, they are sitting on more than a half-million dollars but cannot afford to give a yearly bonus to staff that have been there for many years? I think something is very wrong with that picture. They would not even give the staff who had worked there more than 20 years an extra week of vacation, which would only have cost them about $1,000.

I was told to evaluate my staff for the June meeting, and I would be evaluated at that time also. I have never had an evaluation since I started working there, and have always worked well with the board of trustees. I was not worried about the evaluation, because I always was told I was doing a good job, and getting more than 5,000 people through the door of the library each month, I figured I was doing something right. But the evaluation the board gave me at the meeting made me cry. I really was in hysterics by the time I made it to the sidewalk. They had evaluated me as being unsatisfactory and weak in almost all categories. They knew I would not stay after that, and I could not stay. I was devastated.

They have put the capital campaign manager in my position, and she has no library experience. They also have hired her an assistant. I worked on my own all those years and could have used an assistant, but according to the board, they could not afford to hire one. All I can say now is they have put a blind person in the driver’s seat of the car since the new person has no experience in the day-to-day operations of the library. They have taken away from the old staff in order to make room to hire new people. They will finally push out all the older employees until they get what they are looking for.

Do I wish the very best for the library? No, I don’t. What I do feel is how sorry I am for my staff I had to leave behind there. I do wish them well and miss them terribly.