Library to hire former Albany city manager for top job

Berkeley Public Library. Photo: Nancy Rubin
Berkeley Public Library. Photo: Nancy Rubin

The Berkeley Board of Library Trustees plans to hire Beth Pollard, an administrator with deep roots in the East Bay, as the new interim library director. The decision will be confirmed at a meeting today.

Pollard served as Berkeley’s interim deputy city manager from Sept. 2014 to February of this year. Prior to that, she was the city manager of Albany for 12 years, as well as the interim library director for the San Anselmo library.

The board chose Pollard because it believes she brings great administrative and personal skills to the job and will be able to mend the rift caused by the current collections management policy and the departure of former Library Director Jeff Scott.

“What we need at this time is a great administrator who can bring people together,” said Julie Holcomb, who serves on the BOLT board. “Her personal skills, her management skills, will serve the library extremely well at this time.”

Beth Pollard
Beth Pollard

Sarah Dentan has been serving as interim director of library services since Jeff Scott’s resignation in August. She was promoted from manager of the library’s children’s and neighborhood services to acting deputy director of the library about an hour before Scott’s resignation,

Pollard does not have a master’s of library science, and some people may criticize BOLT’s selection because of that, said Holcomb. But her other skills are so strong, and are so needed, that the BOLT board decided that was not critical.

BOLT intends to pay Pollard $91.06 per hour.

BOLT meets at 2 p.m. today at the South Branch (which BOLT recently voted to rename after civil-rights leader Tarea Hall Pittman).

BOLT will soon launch a new search for a permanent library director.

Read the press release about the appointment, issued at around 3 p.m. Friday.

This story was updated after publication with new information about Pollard’s compensation.

Related:
Berkeley Library director was “not a good fit” (09.04.15)
Jeff Scott resigns as Berkeley library director (08.31.15)
Berkeley library director under fire at meeting of library trustees (08.27.15)
Berkeley library director admits vast discrepancies in numbers of weeded books (08.12.15)
Obscure and popular books part of the library weeding process (08.02.15)
Protesters rally over library weeding (07.14.15)
Library fans voice concern over weeding of books (07.08.15)
Op-ed: The Berkeley Public Library is central to our community (01.15.15)
Op-ed by Jeff Scott: Berkeley Public Library is a shelter from the storm (12.12.14)

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Frances Dinkelspiel is co-founder and executive editor of Cityside. Email: frances@citysidejournalism.org.