The library board’s executive committee appointed her Tuesday evening.
She replaces Sarah Milnarich, who the library board named as interim director last August.
“It was a mutual agreement,” says committee member Margie Awalt. “For the library to keep its accreditation from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, it has to have a director who is working at least 30 hours. Sarah was a part-time person, working only 20.”
Proper accreditation from the Austin-based entity allows a library access to online databases as well as eligibility to apply for certain financial grants.
The committee’s decision to change directors followed an annual evaluation of Milnarich.
“After the evaluation,” Milnarich says, “I wanted something different.”
“We needed someone who could work a 40-hour week,” Awalt says. “Sarah just couldn’t do all that needed to be done. It became obvious to us that Sarah’s working 30 hours just wasn’t possible.”
Milnarich works full-time as director of the Coastal Bend College library.
The commission’s requirements for how many hours a library director works is based on a sliding population scale.
From 2007 to 2010, the library claimed a city/county population of 25,000, requiring a 40-hour director.
In late April, the population reported by the board was just under 25,000. Commission guidelines require a director work at least 30 hours.
The Commission then notified the board that the library was out of compliance and was given until the end of July to correct the problem.
The library board submitted an answer online July 20, saying its director was working 30 hours.
Milnarich’s term ended July 24.
Awalt says the board only learned about the 30-hour requirement earlier this month, almost a year after appointing Milnarich.
“I don’t understand, because the minimum-hour criteria has been in place for decades,” according to Deborah Littrell, the commission’s director for library development and networking director.
Littrell points out that failure to meet commission guidelines about the minimum number of hours a director works does not automatically result in loss of accreditation.
A library would be placed on probation and have up to three years to correct the problem.
The local library board took only four days.
When it meets in September, it will decide whether Blatherwick will become permanent director.
Until Tuesday, she was the library’s adult services librarian. She also was a contender for the interim directorship when the board chose Milnarich.
Blatherwick holds a degree in library science from the University of Texas.
She assumed the directorship of the library two days before Bee County commissioners considered next year’s library budget at a Friday workshop in the courthouse.
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.