New North Adams Library Director Settling InBy Phyllis McGuire
Special to iBerkshires
03:41AM / Monday, April 07, 2014
Mindy Hackner is settling in as the North Adams library's new director.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The historic North Adams Public Library has a new director.
But she's not new to North Berkshire.
Mindy Hackner worked at the David and Joyce Milne Public Library in Williamstown for nearly 18 years, starting at the circulation desk and then becoming webmaster and children's librarian.
It was a "bittersweet experience" when she resigned in 2013 to take over as director of the Dalton Public Library.
"The opportunity to come back to North County to a larger system drove my decision to leave Dalton," Hackner said recently in her new office in North Adams.
"The Dalton Library has a wonderful collection, but it is in a very small space. Because of the space constraints, they are limited to being a traditional library focused on popular reading, and I was unable to do some things I wanted to do — curriculum support of the school and database training for patrons and community use were limited by the same issues."
Such programs and activities, however, are already in place at the North Adams Library.
"My mission is to support what they are already doing, including 'Music at the Mansion' and other summer programs," said the new director, who holds a bachelor's degree in art in English from the University of Massachusetts and a master's degree in library science from the State University of New York.
"Kim Dilego, youth service librarian, has a curriculum with the schools, and we have a robust reference department — everything from resume writing to genealogical research," said Hackner. "We know what people in North Adams like to read and we have settled in since renovations were completed."
Hackner replaces Rick Moon, who left last summer to become director of the newly refurbished library at McCann Technical School.
"The NAPL Trustees welcome Ms. Hackner as library director," Harris Elder, chairman of the board of trustees, said. "She brings to our library many years of experience as a children's and circulation librarian, webmaster and library director.
"We are looking forward to her leadership in continuing the library's thoughtful service to its patrons."
The former mansion is more than 100 years old, and extensive renovations and an expansion were undertaken from 2004 to 2005.
The renovated structure is much larger and is the first "green" library in Massachusetts, with both solar panels on the roof of the new addition and geothermal heating in the basement.
One of the new director's first goals is to relieve Robin Martin, the adult reference service librarian, of some duties she had fulfilled as interim director.
"Another goal is to meet with the board of trustees, Friends of the Library and community leaders to find out what they require of the library — how they want to position the library in their vision for the city," Hackner said.
Because of her history with the library, Hackner sees assuming the director's position as a "homecoming."
When she was children's librarian at the Milne Library, she had networked with Marion Grillon in the young adult department on curriculum for schools.
"I watched Kim Dilego start her master's work," Hackner said. "I am absolutely loving the staff. And I recognize patrons from my years in Williamstown.
Marcia Gross, director of the library from 1999 until she retired in 2009, visited Hackner on her first day in her new job: March 17.
"Marcia is my mentor," said Hackner. "Both Marcia and Pat McLeod (director of the Milne Library) have been very supportive, and I've learned a lot from both of them."
Gross spoke by telephone of the days she and Hackner both worked in the Williamstown library.
"We had quite a bit of contact and I encouraged her to get her master's," Gross said. "Now, I'm delighted that Mindy is taking over the management of the library. She is hard-working, very creative and organized."