The board of trustees for the Princeton Public Library has hired a new director, Brett Bonfield.
Bonfield, currently the director of the Collingswood Public Library, was one of two finalists chosen from 25 applicants after a national search led by Library Strategies International LLC, library representatives said.
The board of trustees held a special meeting today at 5 p.m. to approve the appointment. Board members Audrey Gould, Pam Wakefield, and Ruth Miller, all voted to abstain. Some board members thought the search for Burger’s replacement should be re-opened to seek a broader applicant pool. Mayor Liz Lempert participated in the meeting via speakerphone and voted yes.
Current Princeton Public Library Director Leslie Burger did not attend the meeting. Burger has served 16 years as the head of the Princeton Public Library, which has about 70 employees.
Bonfield graduated from Drexel University with a master’s degree in library and information science in September of 2007. He serves as treasurer for the New Jersey Council for the Humanities board. Kiki Jamieson, the president of the Princeton Public Library Board of Trustees, also serves on the New Jersey Council for the Humanities board with Bonfield as a member at large.
“We are delighted that Brett Bonfield will be the next executive director of Princeton Public Library,” Jamieson said in a prepared statement. “Brett is a committed and experienced community builder. He is an advocate for public libraries and all who use them, and I have been impressed with his deep commitment to nurturing libraries as the heart and hearth of diverse communities. I think he will build on the excellence to which we as a community have become accustomed.”
Prior to his tenure at the Collingswood Public Library, which has a full-time staff of five people and a part-time staff of nine people, Bonfield worked during graduate school as a reference librarian in the library of the University of Pennsylvania in the 2006-07 academic year and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and Temple University during the 2007-08 a2007-08 academic yearcademic year. He co-chairs Library Pipeline, a website about opportunities, funding and services for libraries and librarians. Bonfield previously held jobs in real estate, web development, and online services, according to his resume.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as executive director of Princeton Public Library, and I look forward to working with the library’s Board of Trustees and the extraordinarily talented staff at the library,” Bonfield said. “Building on the library’s tradition of success will require an intimate understanding of the community’s needs, and developing that understanding and putting it into practice will involve a great deal of listening, on my part, to the members of the Princeton community who love their library and care about its future.”
Bonfield will be paid $128,000 a yer. He begin his duties on Jan. 19.