Brenda J. McKinley of Newtown was appointed as the next director of the C.H. Booth Library in Newtown, Wednesday, June 18, following a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees at a special meeting held Tuesday evening, June 17. Ms McKinley’s appointment, effective July 1, was announced to the staff and Acting Director Beryl Harrison, Wednesday morning, by Board of Trustees President Martha Robilotti.
An accomplished and longstanding member of the staff of Booth Library, Ms McKinley emerged as the candidate of choice from a highly qualified applicant pool following a national search conducted by a seven-member committee composed of trustees, staff, and community members, who were advised by the Division of Library Development at the Connecticut State Library. She was selected for her depth and breadth of experience in library service as well as for her distinguished service to C.H. Booth Library that has inspired the confidence of the Newtown community, her colleagues, and fellow librarians throughout the state.
Ms McKinley holds a master of library science with honors from Southern Connecticut State University, during which she performed field work at the Yale University Health Services Center. Prior to studying library science, she studied biology at the University of Connecticut, where she was one of 19 of 3,100 undergraduates named a University Scholar. She continued her studies at the University of Connecticut in the area of physiology and neurobiology, earning a master of science. She subsequently worked as a research associate at Yale School of Medicine and as a research scientist at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
Her career as a librarian began in 1991, when she served as the assistant library director of the New Fairfield Free Public Library and as a consultant to the library of John Dewey Academy in Great Barrington, Mass. She then returned to Yale as the reference librarian at the world-renowned Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, where she gained experience in system implementation and management.
In 1995, Ms McKinley became a part-time reference librarian in her adopted hometown of Newtown, and throughout the next 19 years served C.H. Booth Library in progressively responsible capacities. At present, she is the head of technical services, circulation, and systems, a role she has held for the past six years.
“I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to lead the library, and excited for the future of Booth Library,” said Ms McKinley. “I look forward to working with the board, the staff, and the volunteers.”
“I predict smooth sailing,” said Ms Harrison, in response to the appointment of Ms McKinley to the position. Ms Harrison has served as acting director since the fall of 2013, following the resignation of Director Shawn Fields, who left after less than three months.
In addition to her service to Newtown through C.H. Booth Library, Ms McKinley has volunteered with the PTA, youth sports organizations, and is part of the founding editorial team of The Newtowner: An Arts and Literary Magazine.