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Canton Free Library director resigns

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CANTON — The longtime executive director of Canton Free Library has resigned.

Carolyn J. “Lyn” Swafford stopped working May 15 and was given a severance package that provides her with paid leave through May 31.

Mrs. Swafford said she agreed to sign a resignation agreement with the library’s board of trustees. The agreement was reached May 14 and also was signed by the board’s president, Thomas A. Langen.

“I felt it was best for the library and the community that I resign at this time,” Mrs. Swafford said Wednesday. “I’m looking forward to assisting other libraries in St. Lawrence County as a freelance consultant.”

Assistant Library Director Carole A. Berard has agreed to serve as acting library director until a permanent replacement is hired. Mrs. Berard is not qualified to serve as executive director because she does not have a master of library science degree, which is required by the state.

Mrs. Swafford, 67, lives in Colton and has served as the library’s executive director since May 1999. She replaced Dagmar T. Jaunzems, who was fired by the board.

Mr. Langen would not discuss the reasons behind Mrs. Swafford’s decision to leave.

“It was, I guess, time,” he said. “I can’t really talk about personnel issues, other than to say that the board really appreciates all the work that Lyn did for the Canton Free Library.”

Mrs. Swafford said she signed a letter of resignation and is not retiring from the profession she loves. She also declined to discuss her decision publicly.

“I am not retiring. I love my profession, and I have more to give,” Mrs. Swafford said. “I loved my job, and I had the most incredible staff.”

In 2012, Mrs. Swafford was named Librarian of the Year by the North Country Library System. In 2006, she received the Award for Excellence in Library Service from the Northern New York Library Network.

During her 14-year tenure, the library launched a major capital project that was completed in 2006. Mrs. Swafford also is credited with helping the library maintain financial stability.

She also helped the library transition to a fully automated system and other technology upgrades. “When I started, we were still doing everything by hand and on paper. Now it’s entirely automated,” she said.

Mr. Langen said the board hopes to have a new permanent director by September and expects there will be a sufficient number of qualified applicants.

He credited Mrs. Swafford with leaving the library in “very good financial shape” and said he expects the transition will be smooth.

Moving forward, Mr. Langen said, the library will continue to develop its technology services, including offering more digital versions of books and other materials.

The 6 Park St. library has 12 employees and operates branch libraries in Morley and Rensselaer Falls.

Keeping the library financially sound is an important challenge, Mr. Langen said.

“One of the biggest issues in the coming year is how to keep the Canton Free Library financially stable,” he said. “It will require thinking from the executive committee and the board on the best path forward with that.”

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