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2016-10-27

Library director resigns, board looks for replacement

By Steven James BCC Editor

Bandera County Public Library Director John Hegemier has decided to resign from his position to make some changes in his life and to pursue other interests.
“I think when you’re in a place too long, you kind of get stuck in a rut,” Hegemier said. “I think a new director is what the library needs to move into the future.”
Hegemier, 53, said one of his weaknesses as library director was not advertising programs and events well enough, and hopes the new director will improve upon that. Hegemier will help the library’s Board of Directors look for a replacement before leaving the position.
Hegemier turned in his resignation Oct. 3. He worked as library director for 14 years. While he was library director, he added e-book check-outs, introduced new collections, helped install Wi-Fi and brought in more computers for patrons.
“I hope they keep a place that’s fun,” Hegemier said. “I hope it remains a welcoming place that people feel comfortable coming to.”
He said he will remain in Bandera to continue working on his house. He also said he will look for new work.
Hegemier said trying to make changes in his life is also why he is not running for re-election for Bandera mayor.
“The grief is becoming a little more difficult,” Hegemier said. “I love making people happy. If you make somebody happy in politics, inevitably you’re making somebody unhappy, and it becomes a little draining after a while.”
Board of Directors President Jan Grimes said the board is currently in the early stages of looking for a new director, and has yet to find anybody. Grimes said the board started looking for a new director two weeks ago at the board meeting, and is trying to find somebody who can tackle the library’s challenging needs.
“Not only evaluating and making recommendations to the board what might be interesting program topics, but then also implementing those programs, which means effective marketing, advertising, getting the word out to the community,” Grimes said. “Meeting with the community and patrons to find out what the needs and interests are.”
Board of Directors Vice President Bill Bringhurst he would like the new director to increase the library’s circulation numbers.
“We’re facing a lot of the same challenges newspapers are, with people wanting to do electronics and e-books,” Bringhurst said. “We have e-books, that’s part of the library, but people, they’ll rather go and get their book on Kindle, read that, as opposed to going to the library and checking out a book.”
Bandera Friends of the Library President Betty Thomas said Hegemier was a strong force for hosting library events, including the Wild Hog Explosion fundraiser held every March, and he was an innovator who helped the library gain patronage over his time as director.
“I hope people will come to the library even though John is not there,” Thomas said. “He is a good listener and sounding board for a lot of people.”