Trustees interview third Saugus library director candidate

SAUGUS – Jeff Wavrunek envisions buying a home in Saugus where he can walk to his job as public library director and raise his family in a small and friendly town.The Illinois resident unveiled these yearnings during an interview Monday before the six-member Saugus Public Library Board of Trustees, which seeks to fill the post of permanent library director.The trustees previously interviewed two other candidates ? Diane Wallace, director of the Bacon Free Library in Natick; and Ewa Jankowska, currently interim director at the Saugus library.A fourth candidate, also from Illinois, decided to withdraw from the interview process last month.The permanent post has been vacant since the last director walked off the job in 2007.Wavrunek, director of adult services at Collinsville Memorial Library Center in Collinsville, Ill., described himself to the trustees as creative and energetic yet cautious with funds.”I have experience in budgeting,” he said. “I would be very frugal. Your money would not be spent unwisely.”The candidate told trustees he recently organized a public series of talks and exhibits with a crime theme to attract people to the Collinsville library in a town about 30 miles east of St. Louis, Mo. He borrowed a mannequin and equipment from the local police department to create an intriguing window display draped with yellow crime scene tape. Topics ranged from identity theft to CSI-type case studies. Wavrunek said he invited a state forensic specialist to make a presentation, which proved popular with the audience.Asked about his priorities as potential library director, Wavrunek said above all the institution must remain relevant in an era of fierce competition from online book vendors and e-book reader devices such as Amazon’s Kindle.”We have to stay relevant,” he said, elaborating on the need to offer personalized service, something Kindle and iTunes cannot.In addition to teaching computer skills, Wavrunek said those seeking online information must also come to understand how to assess the quality of data. Rhetorically, he asked, “Do they know if any article has authority?”Researchers must know how to determine if the information culled from the Internet is accurate, reliable and credible, he said.Wavrunek emphasized many elderly users of the library are not computer literate. In Collinsville, classes are held monthly to teach basic computer skills as well as word processing, database and spreadsheet construction, he said, adding, “We offer 12 computer classes each month and they fill up fast.”In response to questions from the trustees and the public, Wavrunek said Saugus seems attractive because of its size, its clean streets and parks, well-kept homes, and its need for a library director. “It seems like a very nice place to live,” he said. “I like that there’s a lot of history here.”Besides, his wife, Laurie, is a Nashua native with a strong attachment to her family and New England, he said. And the prospect of working as his own boss is another reason Saugus is so appealing.The couple has two children, daughter Ellie, 6, and son Hayden, 4.Wavrunek holds a master’s degree in library and information science from Dominican University in River Forest, Ill., a master’s degree in teaching from National-Louis University in Wheeling, Ill. and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.He has been director of adult services in Collinsville since January 2010. Prior to that post, he was youth services reference librarian at the Forest Park Public Library in Forest Park, Ill. from August 2009 to January 2010. He also held other librarian positions in 2008 in Illinois.”We need to embed the library in the community,” he said, explaining the institution must not stop at the exterior walls. He noted real estate developers in China often insist a library be incorporated into plans for new developments because its presence adds to property values.Pamela Gill, chairman of the trustees, said the hirin

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