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Berkeley Library Director Resigns Less Than a Year After Starting

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Berkeley Public Library's landmark Central Branch (Sarah Stierch/Flickr)

The director of the Berkeley Public Library (BPL) announced Monday that she will resign after a troubled year for Library officials and staff.

Heidi Dolamore, BPL’s director of library services, will officially step down from the post on Sep. 22, less than a year after she was appointed. An official reason for her departure had not been provided as of Tuesday.

Heidi Dolamore in 2013
Heidi Dolamore in 2013 (via Facebook)

A former assistant director at the San Jose Public Library, Dolamore became BPL’s director as a tense relationship between library staff and the general public came to light. Earlier this year, Berkeleyside reported that BPL staffers had been subjected to a workplace that was filled with “discomfort and distrust.”

In addition, two members of the Board of Library Trustees (BOLT) — former president Julie Holcomb and vice president Jim Novosel — were dismissed by Berkeley’s City Council in April, the first time the Council has utilized this power toward the largely-autonomous board.

The news came as a surprise to Andrea Mullarkey, a teen librarian at the Tarea Hall Pitman South Branch and shop steward for SEIU Local 1021.


“The tensions that have been undergoing in previous years have been alleviated at this point,” said Mullarkey. “Things have been improving and staff has been getting traction on a lot of things.”

Elliot Warren, who served as Deputy Director under Dolamore, will fill her position until BOLT finds a replacement.

BOLT’s next open meeting will take place next Monday, Sept. 6, where they plan on covering the next steps in the hunt for the new director.

“I am confident that everyone will work together as a team to continue to provide excellent library service to the Berkeley community while the Board conducts the search process for a new Library Director,” said BOLT President Diane Davenport in a press release.

Mullarkey agrees, adding that Davenport and the current BOLT leadership has made it a point to reach out to all library stakeholders in their decision-making.

Dolamare is the second BPL director in a row to resign before spending a year in the position. Former director Jeff Scott vacated the position in Aug. 2015 after he was criticized for the way he culled the library’s collection, among other issues.

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