Great Barrington hires Amanda Martinson DeGiorgis as new library director


GREAT BARRINGTON - The town's new library director will have a familiar face.

Amanda Martinson DeGiorgis, the town's senior librarian, was announced on Tuesday as the replacement to former director Kathleen Deviny, who left in October to start her own archiving business.

Hired in 2012, DeGiorgis, 34, will have a learning curve with limited administrative experience, but she has distinguished herself in scholarship with a doctorate degree in medieval history from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, along with a master's degree in library and information sciences. She starts full-time beginning on March 3.

"I am very passionate about what I do, and I will work hard for what I am passionate about," DeGiorgis told the Eagle on Tuesday.

Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin hired DeGiorgis following consultation from a four-person advisory committee, which included herself, Selectman Chairman Sean Stanton, and two members of the Library board of trustees.

Library Trustee Chairman Ed Abrahams, who was on the committee, said there was a wide net cast with more than a dozen qualified applicants considered in the first round. DeGiorgis was a consensus recommendation by the committee, Abrahams said.

"Aside from the experience and education, she's already here and she knows the community which is a plus," Abrahams said.

"After considering a wide range of candidates both locally and from across the state, we remained most impressed with Amanda's leadership skills, knowledge of library standards and systems, and vision," Tabakin said in a prepared release.

The library director is responsible for the administration and supervision of all library activities. The position is charged with maintaining the building, supervising staff and the budget, and maintaining the building.

DeGiorgis' salary could not be learned; Deviny earned $57,000.

As senior librarian, DeGiorgis oversaw the daily operations at Ramsdell Library, supervising staff and part-time employees. For both the Mason and Ramsdell libraries, DeGiorgis is in charge of adult programming and publicity, purchasing adult fiction for both libraries and children's materials for Ramsdell.

DeGiorgis, a Minneapolis native, moved to the Berkshires following completion of her doctorate degree because her husband has roots in the Berkshires. She studied medieval history as a fan, and she did her thesis on King Henry II of England and his monastic patronage. She was more interested in Henry II's wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine - who was married both to the kings of France and England - but she opted instead for her husband because there was robust research on the queen.

DeGiorgis had considered becoming a professor following graduation, but she found her passion really lies in the research at the heart of libraries. She described herself as a technology enthusiast, a promoter of community, and a lover of novels about historical fiction, mystery and "literary coming of age" novels.

DeGiorgis said one of her priorities is providing the library some direction following Deviny's departure.

DeGiorgis, who described the Ramsdell Library as "important," said the library's role in relation to serving the community's needs can be better defined. Both the Ramsdell and Mason library can be better re-oriented so the libraries are fulfilling community needs and helping develop existing interests, she said. There could also be more collaboration between the libraries, she said.

"New director, new start," said DeGiorgis, who said she's ready to jump start the library's development.


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