DALTON -- The Dalton Free Library has a new director at the helm -- and he says an updated vision for the library is long overdue.

Robert DiFazio, who was hired last month, said his first priorities are drafting a long-term library plan, which hasn't been done in many years, enhancing programming -- particularly for young children on the weekends, and hunting for grant opportunities.

"The idea is to get more integrated into the community," he said.

DiFazio said he'd like to increase library involvement with the school district, bring more authors and weekend performers to the space, and enhance the summer reading program. The library recently received minor website and building upgrades.

The 40-year-old Dalton resident holds a master's in library science from the State University of New York at Buffalo and previously worked for eight years in the clinical library at Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge.

The board of trustees chose DiFazio after former library Director Mindy Hackner departed in March to run North Adams Public Library. Barbara Kulbi filled the gap as Dalton's interim library director until DiFazio's hire.

John Kittredge, chairman of the trustees, said DiFazio was "just what we were looking for."

"We wanted a someone who's interested, smart and able to work with the staff," Kittredge said. "In Rob we saw all of those things. We're pleased with him and the job he's doing so far."

DiFazio said the new position places him within walking distance of work and, more importantly, will allow his young daughter and infant twin boys to attend the Central Berkshire Regional School District schools closer to home.

So far, he said, he's enjoyed interacting with the public and building relationships with the library's five-person staff.

"It's a change of pace for me. I've typically worked in offices looking at a computer screen all day, so it's nice to work in a place where you're seeing people all day long," DiFazio said.

Library hours are noon to 8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays ; noon to 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

To reach Phil Demers:
pdemers@berkshireeagle.com
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On Twitter: @BE_PhilD