Monday, January 01, 2007

New Director at Berkeley Public Library; Union Left Out of Search

Don't expect Donna Corbeil to come armed with an agenda when she takes over the reins of the Berkeley Public Library on Jan. 8.
"It's not for me to bring some preconceived idea about how the library should be," she said. "I need to get to know the staff and the community, and find out what the issues are from them."
Corbeil, who currently holds the No. 2 job at the Solano County Library, succeeds Jackie Griffin, who resigned as Berkeley's director of library services in July amid staff turmoil and a controversy over the installation of radio frequency identification devices in library books.
Since then, the post has been filled on an interim basis by Roger Pearson.
So far, reception to Corbeil's appointment has been guarded.
Carlos Rivera, communications coordinator for Service Employees International Union Local 535, the largest of three unions representing library staff members, said the union felt left out of the process that chose her. "Our main concern was that they make it a top priority to choose someone with extensive labor-relations experience, since that was a major problem with her predecessor," Rivera said. "Instead, all we got was one line on the application form saying, 'Must have labor relations experience.'

"But now that she's been chosen, we'll sit back for a while and give her a chance to do the right thing."

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