The Newtown Bee received a copy Tuesday, September 17, of an e-mail letter of resignation from C.H. Booth Library Director Shawn Fields, sent to members of the Board of Trustees of the C.H. Booth Library. The e-mail was sent at 11:46 am on Monday, September 16, and stated that following conversations with his wife this past weekend, they had “decided together that it would be best if I did not work here, effective immediately.”
Mr Fields has been the brunt of public criticism since this summer, beginning with the elimination of longtime reference librarian Andrea Zimmermann’s position. Ms Zimmermann declined another position at that time.
At a series of three focus group sessions hosted by Mr Fields in August, during which he had hoped to receive input on what the public did or did not want to see as the library moved into the future, he instead received a stream of criticism concerning his perceived poor relationship to the staff, and rumored changes to the physical layout of the library.
Many members of the public expressed concerns that the new library director was considering implementing changes far too early on in his employ, and taken on staff training duties for which he was not qualified. In letters to The Newtown Bee and in public expression, it was suggested that he had not taken the time to understand the library’s role in the community or how the staff functions there.
That public criticism, including calls for his resignation and reinstatement of Ms Zimmermann to her role in the reference department, followed Mr Fields into the monthly Library Board of Trustees meeting on September 10. At that time, the board heard comments from the public, but did not respond.
As of Tuesday morning, September 17, C.H. Booth Library staff had not yet received confirmation of Mr Fields’ resignation.
John Trentacosta, vice president of the Board of Trustees, confirmed on Tuesday that the board has accepted the resignation of Mr Fields and that the board would issue a statement later this week.