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New library branch manager moving from Raleigh to SoBo

Library board members announced Tuesday they would soon welcome newcomer, Chris Thompson, as the new South Boston library branch manager.

The board announced the new hire at the Halifax County-South Boston Library Board meeting held Tuesday evening. 

Thompson, who begins work on Dec. 2, comes to South Boston from the Wake County Public Libraries’ Richard B. Harrison Community Library in Raleigh, N.C. 

He holds a Master’s degree in library science from Catholic University, and he completed his undergraduate studies in history and economics at Hampden Sydney College.

Chairman Bee Edmunds Espy told fellow board members, “His knowledge of the library, his desire and his enthusiasm really impressed me.”  

Commenting on the new manager, library board member Judy Ward said, “We felt really strongly about him. It wasn’t as if we were divided.” 

“This guy is very personable and would be a good meet and greet,” added library board member Martha Coates.

The library board began the search for a new branch manager after former Manager Jessika Pettit resigned at the end of August.

A total of 10 individuals applied for the position


Search continues for new library director

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Espy updated board members on the hiring process for a new library director to replace former Director Joe Zappacosta who assumed a library director’s position in Danville in October. 

According to Espy, a total of six individuals have applied for the director’s position. 

Three of those individuals are being interviewed. The first interview was Wednesday, another will be conducted Friday, and a third is set for Nov. 19. 

Espy said each of the three candidates “looks pretty good,” and each has “some experience.” 


Moving law library 

In other business, Espy also gave a brief update on moving the law library and the possibilities of regionalizing the county’s two libraries. 

In regards to the law library, Espy said she has been in touch with Todd Shockley of the Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, and the board is “at the verge of continuing talks about this law library.” 

 “I’m not real solid on a whole lot of things,” she added.

According to Espy, she has seen an agreement that will be given to the Bar Association, but the agreement “is not finalized by any means.” 

 “I have not received an agreement yet that has corrections on it from them. I’m still waiting to hear from him,”  Espy said. 

Coates suggested the Bar Association should have the responsibility of “giving us a list of names and addresses of attorneys, especially ones who are free.

 “They could also draw up a list of the most frequent cases and tell us where the information is found in their books. Maybe they could form some kind of pamphlet that would sit at the front desk that could direct people to the information they need,” Coates added.

Espy described Coates’ idea.

Before leaving at the end of September, Zappacosta revealed the bar association is in favor of moving the law library to the Halifax County Library.


Prospect of regional library

Vice Chairman Hope Harris-Gayles and Espy, along with County Administrator Jim Halasz and South Boston Town Manager Ted Daniel plan to meet with Bob White of the Region 2000 initiative in Rustburg to discuss regionalizing Halifax’s two libraries.  

The Region 2000 initiative is similar to Halifax County’s Industrial Development Authority in that it reaches out to bring businesses to the areas, said Espy.  

Campbell County, Bedford County and the City of Lynchburg are three of the areas participating in Region 2000. 

 “Region 2000 has completed a study on regionalization. We plan on talking about the study, and we will see where we would stand,” said Espy. “However, this is just an information gathering. No decisions will be made.”  

The board was introduced to the Region 2000 initiative at its October monthly meeting when they explored the option of regionalizing Halifax’s libraries with Kim Armentrout, Public Library consultant, and Carol Adams, assistant director of the Library of Virginia.