North Adams Public Library hires new director


NORTH ADAMS — The city will find a silver lining in the closure of nearby Southern Vermont College.

Sarah Sanfilippo, the Bennington, Vt., college's director of library services for more than 15 years, has been hired as director of the North Adams Public Library.

"It was kind of good fortune on both sides, borne out of a really unfortunate circumstance — the announcement of the closing of Southern Vermont College, which happened in the midst of our search," said Mayor Thomas Bernard.

He announced the new hire at a City Council meeting this week.

"I'm excited for the opportunity," Sanfilippo, who will start on April 29, told The Eagle on Friday.

Sanfilippo will replace retiring director Mindy Hackner, who will leave the post in May after about five years as the library's leader. Hackner had announced her plans to retire late last year, setting off a search for her successor.

Though he formed a search committee that included members of the library's Board of Trustees and City Administrative Officer Michael Canales, the library's director is an appointment made solely by the mayor.

Being connected to the greater library community and aware that the city was searching for a new library director, Sanfilippo wasted little time in sending a resume and cover letter to City Hall following the announcement in March that Southern Vermont College would close its doors.

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Colleagues had gotten together the weekend following the announcement for a small resume workshop, she said.

Apparently, it paid off.

"[I] was able to see right away based on the materials that she was definitely a credible candidate," Bernard said.

The search committee reached out to Sanfilippo, who they ultimately recommended for the job. Bernard met with her and agreed with the recommendation.

"There will be a learning curve going from the academic library setting to a public library, but it's clear that she's got the experience and the ability to learn and build from that," Bernard said.

Sanfilippo also looks forward to taking on the challenges of a public library.

"The fact that it's a public library — it will be something exciting to do after being in academia for 20 years," she said. "I'm sort of coming in with an open mind and looking to talk to the staff and meet the library users and find out what challenges are that they see."

Under the city's compensation plan, the library director position begins at $46,759.

Adam Shanks can be reached at, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.


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