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New Conway library director coming from Manchester

Special to the Union Leader

June 04. 2013 6:39PM

CONWAY —The Conway Public Library board of trustees has hired a Manchester resident as the institutions’ new library director.

David Smollen will fill the now-vacant position in July. The library has functioned without a director since the previous director left last fall after an aborted reorganization of library staff. The trustees approved a severance package for the director, which included six-months of pay and benefits, tapping funds that could have gone to refill the position.

According to the announcement put out by Mark Hounsell, library board chairman, “David’s credentials, the positive recommendations from colleagues with whom he worked at the libraries mentioned above, his great desire to live and work in the Mt. Washington Valley ( home to his wife’s family), and his engaging personality combined to create a feeling on the Board that he is a good match for our library, its staff, and the community.”

Smolen now serves as head of technical services at the Manchester City Library, and previously served as special collections librarian at the New Hampshire Historical Society and was senior reference librarian at the Leach Library in Londonderry.

He has worked with the New Hampshire Archives Group, and on the New Hampshire Local Records Education Project. In 1999 he received a master’s degree in library science from University of Maryland.

According to Hounsell, Smolen was one of 13 applicants for the position. Hounsell praised the work done by the search committee. “It was thorough work of this group that has led to a contagious optimism among the trustees and staff, whose focus on the need for excellent communication, realistic goals, community input, affordable technology, and outreach programs has inspired hope and vision through the hiring of this young man.”

During this year’s budget and town meeting cycle selectmen, the budget committee, and voters at the deliberative session rejected attempts by the trustees to restore funds in the trustees’ proposed 2013 budget that might have allowed the hiring of a director sooner than July 1.

The hiring of Smolen marks the end of nearly nine months of tumult for the 2012 board, in particular its chairman, Linda Fox-Philips. Hounsell and fellow trustee Bill Marvel, both elected in April, ran on a replace-the-chair platform, twining their candidacy to increase the odds of successfully ousting Philips from her leadership role.

After the election, when the new board convened, Phillips said she would not run for the chairmanship. Hounsell was elected.

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