By Scott Shurtleff
AYER -- The Ayer Public Library is turning the page and entering a new chapter with a new director.
Tim Silva, head of adult services at the Leominster Public Library for three years, was selected in a 5-4 vote of the Board of Trustees on June 19.
Silva beat out the library’s acting director, Samantha Benoit. He will take over the $75,000 per year job on Sept 1. Benoit will return to her role as assistant director.
Silva won out over Benoit and 20 other candidates who applied for the position, which has been vacant for six months.
Silva replaces Mary Anne Lucht, who had directed the library for 32 years. Her retirement in January sent trustees on a search. Trustees’ criteria included a master’s degree in library science, supervisory roles, experience in budgeting and fundraising as well as copious time spent working at another library in New England.
“I feel great,” said Silva. “I am very excited about the opportunity and honored to be given the chance.” He praised his colleagues at Leominster Library and looks forward to working with the staff in Ayer.
Silva and Benoit, as finalists, were assigned a short essay as the final determinant.
Debra Faust-Clancy, president of the Board of Trustees, said, “We have made the difficult decision of choosing Silva to be our library director. It was a very close vote. We felt that his ideal goal of encouraging staff development, education and growth will fit very well into our library.”
Silva’s resume boasts more than a decade of library experience including management, and education in architecture and anthropology.
Benoit, who has been at the library for six years, said in a prepared statement, “I have greatly enjoyed working at the Ayer Library for the last few years. I have found the staff to be amazing, the patrons enthusiastic and the town charming. I look forward to continue serving the Ayer community and I’m excited to see what the future holds for the library.”