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Grovetown residents fight librarian's transfer to Evans

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A group of Grovetown residents pleaded with Columbia County commissioners Tuesday to reverse the transfer of the former supervisor of the Euchee Creek Library.

But none of the commissioners made a motion to reconsider the transfer of John Welch.

Welch unwillingly accepted a transfer last month from the Grovetown library on Wrightsboro Road to the main county library in Evans. He started his new position as a reference specialist on Monday.

In her efforts to keep Welch in charge of the Euchee Creek branch, former co-worker and retired librarian Karen Gross gave commissioners a petition with about 300 signatures.

"We just really feel John is a good fit out there," she said.

County officials have said that Welch lacks the education to supervise the Euchee Creek Library, even though he has held that position since the library opened in 1994.

Because of growth in the Grovetown area, officials said that library needs someone with a master's degree in library science to prepare for the increased demand expected there. Welch has a bachelor's degree in history.

"It was thought a lot could be accomplished by putting one of those (a librarian with a master's degree) at Euchee Creek," said commission Chairman Ron Cross.

A change in county policy approved in 2008 requires that branch managers have a master's degree in library science, but supervisors only need a bachelor's degree. The Georgia Public Library Service requires only a high school diploma to supervise a library.

Officials also said Welch did a poor job of updating books at the Euchee Creek branch, dressed inappropriately and slept on the job.

During a Sept. 28 meeting between Euchee Creek Library patrons and commission Chairman Ron Cross, Welch defended himself against some of those accusations.

He said he and his staff started dressing better after he received a complaint from county Library Manager Mary-Lin Maner.

Though he once took naps during his lunch hour in a break room, Welch said he quit doing that, too, after Maner complained.

"I've yet to reconcile with that, regardless of the location and the application," Cross said of Welch's naps.

Cross and others have complained that those supervising Welch failed to document behavior they found unacceptable.

Cross said that likely was a benefit to Welch. Had his sleeping during work hours been documented beyond a performance evaluation, Cross said Welch likely would be facing termination rather than a transfer.

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gijoe7898 10/06/10 - 01:50 am
silly residents, the

silly residents, the politicians know best what you need. the nerve of citizens signing and presenting a petition to try to persuade a public servant to abide by the wishes of constituents.

It wasn't noted in the article, but I believe you don't even need a degree or high school diploma to be a council member. Evidently, you only need to know how to ignore community interests.

corgimom 10/06/10 - 08:50 am
How outrageous of the Board

How outrageous of the Board and the Commission to expect professional dress, behavior, and standards from an employee.

It is shocking that the Board and Commissioners would actually want someone with a degree in Library Science, not History, to manage a library.

Gosh, next thing you know, they'll insist that someone perform the duties of the job!

mable8 10/06/10 - 03:48 pm
"County officials have said

"County officials have said that Welch lacks the education to supervise the Euchee Creek Library, even though he has held that position since the library opened in 1994." This argument does not hold water since he has held this position for the past 16 years; experience counts you idiotic "county officials." Put the man back in our library. And by the way, there are MANY who "nap" during their breaktime; after all, you aren't paying for that 30 to 60 minute break. I've been a patron of that library for a number of years and never did see one worker who was "inappropriately dressed." Furthermore, educational requirements specifically state the types of Degrees AND RELATED Degrees that are acceptable--for librarians, a Degree in History does count. Seems to me there are a few simple-minded dolts who like to refer to themselves as "County Commissioners;" in this case, 'big daddy' or 'city father' would be more applicable to those "commissioners."

aureliusdios 10/07/10 - 09:47 am
The commissioners and Ms.

The commissioners and Ms. Maner have been very gracious--John should have been fired along time ago. He just needs to own up to his numerous deficiencies and comply with the new standards. Whining like a darn baby--this ain't the 60s and the acid trip is over!

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