Published: 5/18/2020 4:51:22 PM
The first time Greenfield’s new library director David Bridgewater was offered a position at the Stephenson Memorial Library circulation desk a couple years ago, he turned it down. A woodworker by trade, he said a former director offered him the vacant position since he, an avid reader, was in the library all the time. It wasn’t too long before the position reopened and he was tapped again. That time, woodworking projects were slow and Bridgewater took it on. “It keeps me off the streets,” he joked. He served for a year and a half before resigning in December this year, and was asked to serve as interim director in January upon the resignation of outgoing director Beverly Pietlicki. The Library Trustees appointed him director on April 1 – “an April Fool’s joke,” he said, as the library was closed to the public at the time and continues to be.
The quiet days are a good time to familiarize himself with the library world, he said, and he’s been attending lots of webinars and familiarizing himself with the collection as he and other staff members reorganize in preparation of an eventual reopening. Ironically, he hasn’t had much time to read since starting in his new role, he said. Bridgewater is a fan of nonfiction, and said he’s learning about fiction titles and other patron favorites from the other library staff members.
Interaction with the public has been mostly limited to renewing library cards and assigning new ones, Bridgewater said, although last week he printed a document for a resident without a computer at home, and delivered it to the door.
Bridgewater said he’s looking forward to having patrons back, and being able to lend and buy books. “How can you run a summer reading program when you can’t lend out books?” he asked. He and the Trustees are making decisions aimed at protecting the health of library staff and the community, he said, and are waiting on the results of the Institute of Library and Museum Services study of COVID-19 on library materials to develop procedure for curbside lending. Patrons can look to the library’s Facebook page for updates as staff reorganize the collection, he said.
Bridgewater has lived in Greenfield for 17 years. He is a graduate of Shoreditch College University of London Institution of Education and continued education at Shrewsbury Technical College. He taught in public and private schools for 12 years, and was involved with starting the Westminster Gallery in Boston as an import buyer. He then went on to establish his own business, Bridgewater Woodworking in Manchester.
“He brings a wide range of experience in his educational background, business acumen and creative accomplishments to our Library,” Greenfield Library Trustees wrote in a statement. “David’s unique abilities and background will bring new perspectives and inclusivity to the Stephenson… His understanding of the broader aspects of life-long learning will create an encouraging and welcoming environment for the different groups and individuals who enjoy our library.”