Beth Kramer is new library director in West Tisbury
Island resident Beth Kramer has been named the new director of the West Tisbury Library. Ms. Kramer, whose appointment was announced by the library's trustees, was formerly circulation assistant at the library for the past year. She has served as interim library co-director with children's librarian Nelia Decker since March.
Ms. Kramer replaces Howard Curtis, who left the post unexpectedly after serving only nine months as director. The library officials did not explain the reason for his sudden departure.
The trustees' selection last Thursday concluded a three-month, nationwide search that drew applicants from as far away as New Mexico and California.
"We couldn't be more pleased with the outcome," board chairman Hermine Hull said. "Since she first joined our library in 2006 as circulation assistant, Beth has shown all the qualities we could hope for in a head librarian. Aside from being organized, intelligent and a good manager, she truly understands what it takes to make a library a warm and welcoming place."
Ms. Kramer was also delighted with the decision. "I'm very, very happy," she said this week. "I've loved working here, and it's the best staff and best community to work for." She began her new duties last Friday.
She said she has no specific new plans for the library. "I am just going to build on what we're already doing, and let people know what a jewel and resource the library is," she said. She hopes people will come to the library let the staff know how they can help them. The library will continue to work with the other libraries on the Island, she said.
Ms. Kramer holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and biology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a master's degree in business administration from UMass, Amherst. She said she plans to get a master's degree in library science through distance learning. She said she was able to draw on her MBA during the last three months with the budget and business aspects of the library.
Previous to joining the West Tisbury Library, Ms. Kramer was perhaps best known as a baker and the owner of Biga Bakery. With her husband, Doug Reid, behind the counter of their bakeshop in the West Tisbury Post Office building, she kept the town and much of the Island fed for more than a decade with her famous nine-grain loaves, ciabatta rolls and sticky buns. She said she was a bakery wholesaler for three years before opening the retail store and has lived on the Vineyard for 15 years.
Ms. Kramer still puts in weekly all-night sessions at her oven, baking what she calls "massive quantities of bread" for the Farmers' Market. However, as director of the West Tisbury Library, she may find her dough-kneading days limited by her new responsibilities. She said she will continue to provide bread for the Farmers' Market this summer, and decide later if she'll be able to continue that job.
"I like to be up during the day," she said. "Much as I love baking, I love people even more. I'm happy to be back with humanity."
In his final report at trustees' meeting, search committee chairman Dan Waters said that although the advertising process had yielded 12 applicants from all over the country, in the end the search committee had unanimously chosen the in-house candidate. He praised Ms. Kramer's outstanding diligence, presence of mind, relevant experience, management skills, leadership, and overall promise.
"We recommend her wholeheartedly, enthusiastically, and without reservations," he said, "and with every confidence that the trustees will find her as perfectly suited for the job as we do."
In addition to Mr. Waters and Ms. Hull, the search committee consisted of Leslie Baker, Paula Black, Virginia Jones, Mary Lu Keep, Elaine Pace, and Bea Phear.