The John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor did not have to go far to find a new director. The library has hired Kelly Harris, the director of the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton, to replace Catherine Creedon, who announced in September that she would be stepping down at the end of the year.
Harris, who has been the director of the Hampton Library for more than 10 years, will officially start her new job on January 3.
She said one of the reasons she found the Sag Harbor position so appealing is that “the community is so engaged. It’s integral to the success of a library, especially as they become community centers, which they have morphed into.” In a release, Harris added, “There is an energy to Sag Harbor I find exciting.”
Creedon, a Minnesota transplant, served as director for 14 years and led the library through a long and, at times, challenging expansion project.
“It’s a thrill to have her coming in,” Creedon said of Harris. “The board conducted a national search. She checked off every box on the checklist. We are lucky to have her.”
She said Sag Harbor was looking for a new director who had shown an interest in continuing their education in library science, shared a desire to continue the library’s educational initiatives, understood the unique socio-economic dynamic the John Jermain Memorial Library serves, and was committed to fostering diversity.
Creedon said that Harris had recently spoken on the topic of “Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion” at the New York Library Association Council Conference and basically offered “a tool box for directors to help our work places foster community diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Harris said she hoped to pick up where Creedon had left off. Besides the expansion project, Creedon has overseen the expansion of the library’s staff and programming.
“I want to continue to strengthen the bonds between the library and community groups and listen to the stakeholders to find out what they want us to do,” Harris said. “I’m very much a believer that the library belongs to the taxpayers, to the people who use it.”
Harris, 40, of Greenport, has spent her entire professional life working in libraries. She got her start working as a page at the Mattituck-Laurel Library when she was a 15-year-old high school student. After studying communications at the State University of New York at Geneseo, she received her master’s degree in library science from Long Island University’s C.W. Post College. She obtained an advanced certificate in library administration from C.W. Post while working in Bridgehampton. She has also worked at the Amagansett Free Library.
Dr. Louise Collins, the president of the Hampton Library board, said Harris would be difficult to replace.
“She has been a great director, and we are really sorry to be losing her,” she said. “I think she will do a great job in Sag Harbor.”
She said Danielle Menchise, the Hampton Library’s business manager, will serve as interim director while the library board seeks a permanent replacement for Harris.
Collins said she did not yet have a deadline for replacing Harris. “It depends on finding the right candidate,” she said. “We want to find someone who is right for Bridgehampton.”