Hadley library director Jane Babcock on paid leave; officials mum, series of closed-door meetings held

Friday, June 20, 2014
HADLEY — The town’s longtime library director, Jane Babcock, has been on paid leave since May. Town officials are tight-lipped about why.

“Right now, the (library) trustees are working with librarians to keep the library going,” Town Administrator David G. Nixon said this week.

Contacted at her home on Tuesday, Babcock declined to discuss the situation with the Gazette. The Select Board on Wednesday night has scheduled an executive session, the agenda of which states only “personnel” as the reason for the closed-door meeting.

That meeting is expected to address personnel matters at the library, the Gazette has learned.

Jo-Ann Konieczny and Caryn Perley, co-chairwomen of the Goodwin Library Trustees, could not be reached for comment Tuesday, though trustee David Moskin said the library has been functioning well in Babcock’s absence.

“Staff have been doing a good job keeping things going,” Moskin said.

Babcock has been director of the Goodwin Memorial Library since November 2004 when she was hired for what was then a part-time, $20,000 permanent job. She began working at the library as a graduate school volunteer before becoming an interim director. The post later became full-time and paid Babcock a $64,708 salary last year, according to town records.

The library trustees’ meeting minutes show that they held executive sessions April 28 and May 5 to discuss a personnel issue and voted unanimously on one item on both occasions.

The minutes suggest there were personnel issues between Babcock and a staff member at the library. Springfield attorney Nathan A. Olin was present at the trustees’ April 28 executive session, while Nixon and town attorney David Jenkins, of the Boston law firm Kopelman and Paige, were on hand for the May 5 closed-door session.

Dan Crowley can be reached at dcrowley@gazettenet.com.