Tina Scott can now officially begin implementing her vision for the James Prendergast Library.
The library's board recently removed the interim label from Scott's September appointment as library director. After a tumultuous year, Scott has provided a calming influence at the helm of the county's largest library since she took the position.
This is a challenging time for public libraries. Money will always be tight. Area residents may remember former director Catharine Way pleading with the City Council a few years ago not to cut the city's funding to the library. While Way was successful then, there will always be a temptation to cut library funding because municipal budgets will always be tight. Scott has seen the writing on the wall and says she is working on ways to increase library fundraisers, including an upcoming Scrabble tournament. Scott said the library is looking for grant funding to increase community access and make existing bathrooms in the building handicapped accessible. And, libraries constantly have to deal with adding technology to an old-school operation.
What we're saying, basically, is running the library effectively is a huge job.
That is one of the reasons why it's interesting to see that Scott won't be asked to continue serving as head of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System.
The James Prendergast Library faces a set of challenges in the coming years that are wholly different from those faced by the area's smaller community libraries or even than those faced by libraries in Olean and Dunkirk. It is important for the Prendergast Library to have a person responsible for shaping its future. It is also important to have someone shaping the future of the entire two-county library system.
The library board has made the right decision in splitting the jobs.