Harford library board bids goodbye to old members, will welcome new faces

The members of the Harford County Public Library's Board of Trustees bid goodbye Thursday to two long-serving members and their student representative for the past year.

William Nicodemus and Jennifer Vido, who have represented the Jarrettsville and Bel Air areas, respectively, on the board for the past 10 years, attended their last meeting Thursday, as did Jack Swab of Fallston, a recent graduate of the International Baccalaureate program and Edgewood High School.

"This is the saddest time of the year, because we have to say goodbye to people," board Chairperson Louise LeTendre said.

Harford County Executive David Craig appointed Dwayne Adams, Nancy Brown and Rebecca Robinson to the board during the spring, for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1, along with Monica Attia, a student at Edgewood High School, as the student representative.

Besides Nicodemus' and Vido's seats on the board, the seat of board member Lucie Snodgrass, a local freelance writer, who resigned from the board earlier this year after moving out of Harford County, also needed to be filled, Library Director Mary Hastler said.

Hastler said the new board members will be sworn in during the board's July meeting.

Nicodemus is past chairperson of the board, and Vido is a local published author, whose second novel, "Country Clubbed," was recently released.

"It has been an absolute honor to service the citizens," Vido said. "We've done some amazing things, and I am so proud... and so thank you for allowing me to serve."

Nicodemus also share his thoughts with his fellow board members.

"I cannot believe that 10 years has gone by; it seems like that," he said, snapping his fingers.

He added: "The quality of people that serve and what they have done, I think it's outstanding and I think it's just an honor to be associated with you all."

Swab, who will be attending Penn State University in the fall, where he plans to study geography, also reflected on his past year on the board, which he called an "enlightening and learning year."

"It's been a great year, really being able to see what makes the library run," he said.

Board members serve a five-year term and can be reappointed to a second term; they are limited to two terms, Hastler explained.

The student representative serves for one year. Swab said he applied for the position as he was going into his senior year.

The son of Jeffrey and Lorraine Swab of Fallston said he is a "lifelong reader," and has been involved with the local library most of his life.

He even spoke up at a public hearing in 2009 to save the Fallston branch after the community learned county library officials were considering closing the branch to deal with county budget cutbacks.

More than 200 people attended the public hearing at the Bel Air branch in June of that year, well above capacity for the branch's meeting room, The Aegis reported.

"Keep the branch open," Swab, then an eighth grader, said during the hearing, according to The Aegis. "We want to learn."

The Fallston branch remains open; Swab even did his service project for his Eagle Scout rank, installing sustainable landscaping, at the branch.

"I moved beyond reading and more into trying to give back and improve it," he said of the library system last week.

Budget approved

Board members unanimously approved an $18.3 million operating budget for FY14, which included an additional $105,000 in county funding.

Library Director Mary Hastler said $30,000 of the appropriation will be used to open the Jarrettsville branch on Sundays during the upcoming school year. It will be the fourth branch to be open on Sundays, along with Bel Air, Aberdeen and Abingdon.

Hastler said after the meeting that library officials will monitor the traffic at the Jarrettsville branch over six months to a year.

The remaining $75,000 will be used to purchase materials system-wide.

Meeting added

Board members voted 5-3 in favor of adding a December meeting to their annual meeting schedule, meaning the board will meet 11 months out of 12 each year.

LeTendre and Vido voted against adding a December meeting; Vido also cast a proxy vote against the idea for member Dominic Cottone, who was absent Thursday.

"I think it works fine the way it is; I don't think we need one in December," Vido said, noting the busy holiday schedule in December.

Supporters of adding a December meeting, including members Bruce Smith and District Court Judge Susan Hazlett, said December is in the middle of the local budget season.

The board will not meet in August.

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