EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 22, 2013

Plaistow library director steps down

By Alex Lippa
alippa@eagletribune.com

---- — PLAISTOW — She hasn’t been there long, but Plaistow Public Library director Diane Arrato Gavrish is stepping down.

While neither Gavrish nor library trustees would be specific, it appears ongoing tension may have led to her decision.

“I just felt professionally and personally it was time for me to move on,” Gavrish said. “I had come to a bit of an impasse with the board.”

She’s been in Plaistow less than three years, but will leave at the end of June. Gavrish’s letter of resignation was accepted by library trustees last week.

Gavrish, 59, did not go into details about her issues with the trustees, deferring questions to trustee chairman Deb Hoadley.

But Hoadley wasn’t about to discuss any problems.

“I’m sure she has her reasons for saying that,” Hoadley said. “We can’t speak for her.”

Hoadley said the board had no issues with Gavrish. She said the trustees and director had a “working relationship.”

It hasn’t always been smooth.

Gavrish and the trustees have clashed in the past. Last year, it was over the trustee’s media policy. Gavrish always had been accessible to the local press, but trustees decided to wrest that control from her and drafted a media policy.

New trustee James Peck said he was not surprised Gavrish resigned.

“We had kind of gotten an indication this might happen,” he said.

Peck, who was elected to the board in March, said he wasn’t aware of any issues between Gavrish and the board.

“I’ve only been here a couple of months, but from what I’ve seen, she’s done a good job,” Peck said. “We are sad to see her go.”

Gavrish will remain with the library until June 30. She was paid $62,423 a year.

“There are some projects which I am critically involved in that I want to finish up before I leave,” she said. “I’d like to leave things nice and orderly for whoever comes next.”

Hoadley said trustees will immediately look to fill Gavrish’s position.

“We will be posting the job through various libraries and we will then proceed with searching for a new director,” she said. “We have no plans to have an interim director.”

Gavrish had no specific plans after she leaves Plaistow, but said she would be looking for something with less hours.

“I’m looking to downsize at this point in my life,” Gavrish said. “Something with fewer hours might be something that I would appreciate.”

That would rule out Gavrish returning to Derry Public Library, a place she left to take the position in Plaistow. Derry library director Cheryl Lynch announced recently she would be retiring on June 2.

“I’ve been there, done that,” Gavrish said. “I would probably have to say no to that.”

Instead, Gavrish said, she would like to return to something which focus on her strengths.

“Marketing and public relations of libraries are the things I’d like to explore,” she said.

In Plaistow, Gavrish created a Facebook page for the library and overhauled the library’s website since taking over as director. But she said she is most proud of creating a co-op program with Sandown and Atkinson.

“It was only the second co-op program in the state,” she said. “It made access to material a much easier process.”

Gavrish, a Derry resident, may not know her future yet, but she knows she will be sad to leave Plaistow.

“I truly love the community here,” she said. “I have a fabulous staff and it’s bittersweet.”