By Andrea VanValkenburg
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Libraries across the country are facing a fast-moving world of change, and Plattsburgh Public Library is no different.
But as the Board of Trustees, employees, volunteers and patrons look to the future, they are also looking to the arrival of a new director.
With a decision soon to be made, the two top candidates for the position, Katharine Mosher and Anne de la Chapelle, recently highlighted their goals for the job.
The field of five candidates was narrowed to Mosher and de la Chapelle, both of whom spoke to trustees and community members Monday night, detailing the changing dynamics within libraries, opportunities for change and their strengths for the position.
“Your library has a very strong foundation and a lot to offer,” Mosher said as she delved into the organization’s strengths and opportunities for growth.
“It’s interesting because it’s a blend of old and new.”
While the Montreal native wouldn’t sign on with an agenda of change, Mosher said she is optimistic about helping the library grow and take advantage of opportunities that could help meet the shifting needs of the community.
One idea Mosher presented was to focus more on what she called “maker spaces,” latching on to the do-it-yourself movement and offering patrons something new, such as knitting classes or a library farm, like one found at the Northern Onondaga Public Library.
“It’s community involvement, which I think is really wonderful. This is the wave of the future, and this is where we are all headed,” she told the audience at City Hall.
“There’s an opportunity to try something new ... and there’s an opportunity to learn and bring things to the community. It’s a place to learn, explore and change.”
While Mosher focused more on the changing dynamics of libraries and their services, de la Chapelle concentrated on the strength of human interactions in moving the library ahead.
“Basically, the idea is to cultivate relationships to move the organization forward ... and holding the vision and reaching for great service,” de la Chapelle said.
“It takes all of the partnerships to make it work.”
De la Chapelle said she hoped to lead the library with mission-driven planning when it comes to budgets and services, saying she would “make sure all the decisions are being made for the mission.”
Mosher and de la Chapelle also discussed their management styles, experience working with unions and initial impressions of the city library, both stating they remain open to ideas and would lead in a people-friendly approach.
Both candidates hold New York State Public Library certifications.
Mosher is currently a reference librarian at Northern Onondaga Public Library near Syracuse and past library director of the Skaneateles Library Association and at Champlain Regional College-St. Lambert campus in Montreal.
De la Chapelle is the electronic-services and emerging-technologies librarian at Clinton Community College and a past visiting librarian at SUNY Plattsburgh. The Westport native is also currently an adjunct professor at CCC and past library director of the Westport Library Association.