NEW LEBANON — The New Lebanon Library has appointed a new director starting this week.

Michelle Hoffman of East Chatham will officially take the role beginning Thursday.

Hoffman said the library helped give her a connection to the community after she moved to the area from Connecticut. She said she did not know many people and the library was a welcoming place.

“It’s given me such a connection to the community,” Hoffman said. “It feels very different from the larger libraries in the cities I had lived at in the past.”

Hoffman began working at the library as a clerk in 2010. Since then she has worked as a library assistant and assistant director. Hoffman said this seemed like the right time for her to move into the new position.

Hoffman succeeds Moriah Sears, who had been library director for three years. Sears is returning to South Carolina for personal reasons, according to the library board of trustees.

“We’re all so sad to see Moriah go,” Hoffman said. “She’s been phenomenal, especially at leading us through the pandemic over this past year or so. We’re very sad to see her go, but it’s the right time for me to step into the role, with the background that I have, everything I’ve learned from her, everything that I’ve learned from the previous director, has prepared me for this and I’m really excited.”

Hoffman said this is a second career for her. Before she and her husband had their daughter, she had worked in human resources. She originally thought working in the library would be a fun part-time job while her daughter was young.

“Over the years I’ve seen so much of what this library does for our community,” Hoffman said. “The programming we provide, the early literacy resources for families, socialization, there are folks who come in an see us and we might be the only person they talk to in a given day, it really made an impact on me. It was something I knew, at a certain point I wanted to be a bigger part of this. I knew this was the work I wanted to do.”

In a small library, the director has a number of different responsibilities, Library Board of Trustees President Charles Weinstein said.

A small library offers numerous different programs and opportunities for the community, in addition to the books and technology it offers, Weinstein said. The job takes a director with a lot of energy.

“For a small library to offer so many programs it takes a director with a lot of energy, a lot of creativity, a lot of vision and willingness to learn,” Weinstein said. “At a small library a director is sort of all things to all people.”

Hoffman’s experience and knowledge with the library made her an excellent candidate for director, Weinstein said.

“Of course we’re thrilled to have her,” Weinstein said. “Number one, she’s local in the community, people love her. She’s incredibly engaging and extremely friendly. She’s very competent and she’s in a position in her life where she really wants to develop her career and this is a great opportunity for her.”

Weinstein said Hoffman has demonstrated all the skills and abilities the board of directors was looking for in a new director. He said they expect a nearly seamless transition.

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