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South Boston Library Manager’s Resignation Stirs Controversy

South Boston Library Manager Woodson Hughes’ resignation last week continues to ignite controversy.

“If it was a resignation, it was a forced one,” charged former Friends of the Library President Ron Miller following Hughes’ resignation.

“He was devastated,” said Miller of Hughes’ reaction.

Miller immediately resigned as president of Friends of the Library in protest.

“I did not want to work hard for a library that would do this to Woodson,” added Miller, a friend of the librarian. Miller said Hughes indicated his failure to levy fines was an issue.

“At the very worst, his infraction (even if true) demanded nothing more than a reprimand,” Miller said.

Library Director Rhonda Griffin, while confirming Hughes resigned as branch manager of the South Boston library last Tuesday, described the matter as a personnel issue. “So, I cannot comment,” she said.

While personnel issues rest with Griffin, she said the library board supports her.

Reached yesterday, Hughes issued the following statement:

“I served the South Boston Library, it was my privilege to serve it, for nearly a quarter century. I served to the best of my ability and was rewarded by the friendship and consideration of so many people throughout those years and now hereafter. I am grateful for that time in my life. I wish the library well as it moves into the future and hope that it will maximize its potential.”

However, supporters of the former library manager are eager for answers.

Speaking as a concerned citizen, Anne Raab wondered if three board members absent from the called Monday evening meeting were aware of the situation? “Issues that are going to determine a man’s career, reputation and his life,” added Raab.

“To me, Woodson Hughes is that library,” said Raab. “I’ve been a patron there my whole life, and he has been there 25 years. He goes out of his way to help, and he is such a nice, kind person.”

While Raab described Griffin and board members she talked with as “very polite,” she said none would comment.

The library board is composed of 11 members, with eight appointed by county supervisors and three appointed by South Boston Town Council. Current members are board chairman Lisa Crews, Meredith Bowman, Dr. Charles Parker, Jewel Giles, Mickey Thomas, Heidi Dawson, Joan Hines, Valdivia Marshall, Tommy Reagan, Barbara Speece and Shirley McCaleb.