St. John library director resigns

Published 12:06 am Saturday, December 19, 2015

LAPLACE — St. John the Baptist Parish can close the book on another library director.

Natalie D. Beam

Natalie D. Beam

Natalie D. Beam stepped down as Administrative Librarian/public library system director Wednesday via an emailed resignation to members of the library staff, library board, Parish Council and L’OBSERVATEUR.

“It is with great sorrow that I have decided to turn in my resignation,” she said. “As the end of 2015 approaches, it is an opportunity to reflect on the year behind us and to consider what lies ahead. It has been a challenging year for our library, with periods of ongoing change that have affected many aspects of our library.

“We took rigorous steps and made some tough decisions that affected many people in the library and in the community.”

Beam did not address the specifics of why she was resigning in the letter; however, St. John the Baptist Parish Library Board President Norris J. Millet said Beam was having difficulty with a few Library Board members.

“It was mutually agreed upon that she should resign,” Millet said.

According to Millet, friction grew when the Library Board recently reinstated an employee Beam terminated because Beam did not follow policy manual procedures.

“We’re going to advertise for the job again,” Millet said. “Our libraries have a lot to offer. We’re going to have people apply again. It’s just a bump in the road that we came across. We’ve taken care of that. I’m very confident we’ll overcome this, learn from this and our libraries will be all right.”

Attempts to reach Beam for comment were unsuccessful.

St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom said she did not speak to Beam about her resignation and was unaware of the specifics that prompted the resignation.

“The last few (library board) meetings, which were special meetings, were called when there was a conflict with other parish meetings so I haven’t really been as engaged as I will be going forward,” Robottom said.

“That position is one that is very important. When the New Year comes, we’re going to roll up our sleeves as a board and assess some things that have led to this and get someone in who will be there for the long haul and continue to move our library system forward.”

Robottom said the Parish’s goal is to quickly put the library on the right path.

“In every town, the library is a key component,” she said. “It’s utilized by our students and our adults. We need to make sure we take our time selecting the next librarian and provide that person the support they need to be successful.

“I think we will have to aggressively seek one, while understanding what is needed and the scope of that responsibility. It’s going to be very important we get the right candidate. I don’t think we should settle.”

Beam began her St. John tenure in August following the resignation of then director Roberta Zeno August, who had only been on the job for a year, herself.

August replaced the longest serving director of the St. John the Baptist Parish Library system, Randy A. De Soto, who retired in June of 2014 after 27 years as director.