You can go home, again.
After a search process that began in February, Framingham Library Trustees unananimously vote Thursday to offer former Library Director Mark Contois the position of Framingham Library Director.
He will replace Jeanne Kelley, who will retire at the end of June. Ironically, Kelley replaced Contois, when he left in 2010.
“Looks familiar,” Contois said as he walked into the Board of Trustees meeting Thursday night.
Contois was Framingham Library Director from 2006 to 2010 and left to become head librarian for the Worcester Public Library.
Contois, who was the only finalist recommended by the search committee, said he had learned a lot from working in a big city and wanted to apply this experience to Framingham.
As director, Contois said his focus would be to make Framingham Library competitive against digital information providers like Google and Netflix.
“Everything is digital now and libraries need to respond to that,” Contois said. He also said the reference librarians remain a strong guide in this digital information age.
Another challenge Contois hopes to address is the ability to cater to the increasing number of people from different countries, who settle in and around Framingham, so that they use the library as their way to become part of the community.
Contois had to deal with a financial crunch while in Worcester.
On the Worcester Public Library website, it states: "The library’s strategic plan for services has been developed with an emphasis on customer service and service to neighborhoods. When the Board of Directors decided to undertake an upgrading of the Main Library, it did so with the knowledge that a strong, technologically advanced Main Library serves as the hub of the city’s library services. ... Unfortunately the down turn in the economy hit the library. While the City Council and the City Manager have attempted to retain as many city services as possible, the loss of aid from the Commonwealth was devastating. Library staff were laid off, and other positions were left vacant. In all we have 31 positions that are not filled. Without these people, we had to reduce our hours of service to you, the library customer."
Framingham Library Trustees and selection committee members had positive things to say about Contois’ work.
“We were impressed with the amazing things he accomplished in a difficult fiscal environment,” said Trustee Chair Joanne Thompson.
Contois felt optimistic about the town libraries’ financial situation. “We are fortunate we can tap into many sources [for money]” he said.
Contois cannot accept the offer to be Library Director until he gets a formal written offer from the Trustees.
His salary, vacation days, and other benefits will be discussed at the next trustees meeting on June 11and will be decided in conjunction with the Framingham Library Department of Human Resources.
Asked about the future of libraries, Contois said “Everyone loves libraries, you just have to remind them once in a while. The books won’t go away."