Alan M. Thibeault is stepping down as the director of the Winthrop Public Library to become the director of the Peabody Institute Library, which is the public library in the town of Danvers.
Thibeault’s last day on the job will be October 29, ending his 32-month tenure in Winthrop.
Thibeault has guided the library through some tumultuous times. Just a few weeks after he was hired in January, 2009, town leaders were considering closing the library due to a financial crisis. But the library remained opened with reduced staffing and hours.
“It’s been interesting and challenging,” said Thibeault, reflecting on his three years as the library’s chief executive. “The political aspect of the job was something that I wasn’t prepared for when I came in and I navigated that as best I could. I think I learned a lot here. It’s been a great experience and I think Winthrop is a wonderful town.”
Thibeault said he is leaving Winthrop because the Danvers position gives him an opportunity to work in a bigger library in a larger community “and it was hard to pass that up.”
Thibeault said his first few weeks as director were difficult. “I wasn’t expecting that [decision to close the library] at all. It was an extremely challenging time personally and professionally for me. I’m glad we came through it the way we did. I’m grateful for the support from the town in keeping the library open and allowing us to go forward and I hope I never have to go through anything like that again.”
The 51-year-old director thanked the Library Trustees for “the tremendous support that they have given me and the professional and courteous manner in which I was treated. They do a really wonderful service for this town and I hope everybody appreciates that.”
He thanked Town Manager James McKenna for his support, saying he really enjoyed working with him.
“I also want to thank my fellow department heads and of course I’m grateful to the Town Council for funding and the level of support that we received from him during my tenure here,” said Thibeault, who also credited The Friends of the Winthrop Public Library for its invaluable financial and political support.
He credited his staff for “the wonderful work they do in very trying circumstances. We are in my opinion extremely understaffed and it affects the level of service we are able to provide. They do a yeoman’s job of keeping this place running and treating our customers with respect and courtesy. I am in awe of the work they do.”
He said he has enjoyed seeing residents of all ages using the library on a daily basis.
“The people of Winthrop have given the library wonderful support – the library is going to fine and I wish everybody well. I have no regrets or hard feelings leaving here.”
McKenna and Town Council President Jeffrey Turco lauded Thibeault’s work as director.
“Alan did an outstanding job and we’re going to miss his contributions to our community as the highly efficient leader of our library,” said McKenna.
“It a tremendous loss for Winthrop and a tremendous gain for Danvers,” said Turco. “Alan is a true professional. He understood his job and was committed to the business of making the public library available to the people with the limited tax dollars that Winthrop has. We’re going to have a very difficult task finding a suitable replacement.’