BELLOWS FALLS -- The committee tasked by the Rockingham Free Public Library trustees with whittling down the list of candidates vying for the library director job has narrowed down its search to a handful of candidates, and committee members discussed proper interview procedures Friday.
Trustee Chairwoman Janice Mitchell-Love said five applicants have emerged out of the initial list of 19 viable candidates, and members of the search committee voted on a form letter to send each of the five informing them an interview will be set up in the near future.
Committee members voted 3-1 to send copies of the letter to the library trustees, so they will be aware of what the letter states. Mitchell-Love, Pat Fowler and Cathy Bergmann voted in the affirmative while David Gould voted against the motion and Barbara Ternes and Torin Brooks abstained. Mitchell-Love and Fowler are library trustees sitting on the search committee.
The decision to send copies to the trustees arose following the suggestion that the mailing of the letters be put on hold until trustees could review their content and have input. This caused some committee members, however, to worry the interview process would be needlessly delayed, as it would likely not start until the week after next.
"(The letters' content) is very concise, very factual and very to the point, without going into too much detail," said Brooks, who was moderating the meeting.
The letter's text mentions the ongoing lawsuit the trustees face from former Library Director Célina Houlné, who was controversially terminated in September 2013. Trustee Elayne Clift, a known supporter of Houlné, had previously urged the board and the search committee to, for the sake of fairness, notify all candidates about the lawsuit.
The committee members also discussed the interview process, as some candidates will be interviewed in person, while others will be asked questions via Skype, a computer program that enables two parties to see and converse with one another. David Gould said he does not want any candidates who interview via Skype to be discriminated against because they did not actually meet, shake hands and make eye contact with the interviewers.
Gould admitted he has very limited experience with Skype, but his wife uses it to talk with her cousin in Berlin, Germany, and the picture quality is sometimes less than desirable. Brooks, a pastor who said he has "Skyped" with religious missionaries all over the world, said that is likely because routing out of Europe can be problematic. He said, however, those issues should not arise when talking with people in the United States.
Mitchell-Love said Skype will allow candidates to interview if they are unable to make it to Rockingham because of their current job. Bergmann said she and others used Skype to interview Bellows Falls Middle School Principal Heidi Lucas-Moccia for her job.
"It made no difference to me. I have no problem with technology. I got everything I needed from Skype," she said, adding that it is natural to nevertheless prefer in-person interviews.
Sam Maskell, the youth services librarian at the library, said interviews are not often disrupted by the innovative medium of Skype.
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