By Christopher Roberson
Three years after taking the helm at the Lynnfield Public Library, Holly Mercer recently announced that she has accepted a job in Dodge City, Kansas, and will be leaving on June 8. Her new title will be director of the Southwest Kansas Library System. In that capacity, Mercer will be responsible for overseeing 50 libraries spread across 22 counties.
“This is definitely bittersweet to be moving on,” she said.
Looking back on her time in Lynnfield, Mercer said she assisted in writing the grant request for a new library, establishing the Library Foundation and bolstering the number of program attendees. “We more than doubled the attendance of programming,” she said.
Library Board of Trustees Chair Robert Calamari said he has supported Mercer’s hiring decisions. “She’s certainly brought some new blood to our staff,” he said.
Although Mercer will certainly be missed, Calamari said he understood her reasons for taking a job that is 1,760 miles away. “We’re sorry to see her go, but it’s a wonderful career opportunity for her,” he said.
Calamari said that “in the coming weeks,” he and board Vice-Chair Faith Honor-Coakley will begin the task of forming a Search Committee. Calamari said former Director Nancy Ryan, who retired in 2016, has agreed to return on an interim basis until a new director is hired. “Nancy is very familiar with the operations here,” he said. “She clearly has a soft spot in her heart for this place.”
Although the director’s position will be advertised within the next 30 days, Calamari said the search could take six months to complete. “My experience tells me it could easily be that,” he said, adding that it took six months to find Mercer.
In order to find someone who will continue Mercer’s work, Calamari said, the focus will be on making the position look as attractive as possible. He said the trustees must also convey the positive advancements that the library has made during the past three years.