Great Neck Library announces director departure date, search committee

Great Neck Library Director Denise Corcoran speaks with trustees and members of the public. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Great Neck Library Director Denise Corcoran speaks with trustees and members of the public. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Great Neck Library Director Denise Corcoran will officially depart on March 15, library trustees announced at their Tuesday night meeting, with Assistant Director Tracy Van Dyne to begin as acting director on March 16.

In addition to announcing the date of departure, trustees also approved the formation of a director search committee.

Great Neck Library Board President Rebecca Miller said the board will consist of three trustees, to be decided within the next few days, two staff members and two members of the public.

The application will be available on the library website.

Miller had first announced the formation of a committee at a special library board meeting on Feb. 4, where they formally accepted a resignation from Corcoran.

Corcoran declined to comment on her resignation or her plans after March 15.

Jackie Shenkman of Great Neck asked trustees why the library has “such a horrible reputation all around Nassau County.” When asked for more detail on what that meant, Shenkman pointed to Corcoran’s resignation as an example.

“Nobody wants to take this job. And when they do, if they’re good, they leave,” Shenkman said. “I don’t know why, but I know that’s the case and any directors that I speak with across Nassau County, they know. They know.”

“I don’t know all the answers to what you’re asking,” Miller answered, “but I can tell you that this board, that just sat recently, is very interested in answering that question and making sure that the search process is an effective one and that this library has done the soul searching necessary to bring forward and in a director who will want to stay.”

The board also voted to issue a request for proposals for a director search firm to aid in the search for a new library director but emphasized that this doesn’t mean they will necessarily go forward with a firm.

Corcoran, a veteran of the Queens Library system, was first appointed in January 2018 as director to fill a position that was left vacant following the firing of Kathy Giotsas in spring 2017 for undisclosed reasons.

Corcoran began on Feb. 1, 2018 and filed her resignation in late January this year.

Since 2009, the Great Neck Library has hired three directors and had three interim directors.

They include Jane Marino, who served from 2009 to 2012, Laura Weir, who was interim director from 2013 to 2014, Christine Johnson, who served as interim director from 2014 to 2015, Kathy Giotsas, who was hired in August 2015, and Tracy Van Dyne, who served as interim director before Corcoran’s hiring and is once more in that role.

The Great Neck News filed a Freedom of Information Law request on Feb. 4 for a copy of Corcoran’s resignation letter and received an acknowledgment of the request on Feb. 7. As of Wednesday, a copy of the letter has not been made available.

Michael Fuller, a former trustee, alleged at the Feb. 4 meeting that Corcoran’s resignation was due to extreme “micromanaging” by the previous library board.

Current trustees also declined to comment on why Corcoran resigned, but said they take the issue “very seriously.”

In other library business, trustees tabled proceeding with a request for proposals for a project manager for renovating the Station Branch Library so they could have a branch committee meeting first.

Trustee Barry Smith, the chairman of the branch committee, said the board plans to move up the committee meeting to ahead of the March 20 Board of Trustees meeting.

In unrelated library business, Corcoran said there have been a number of positive developments in the Great Neck Library.

Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization aiming to support and increase the number of women in computer science, will be coming to the Great Neck Library, Corcoran said.

Corcoran also announced they will be getting a $100,000 reimbursement from DASNY following the installation of their RFID self-checkout system, the library will be utilizing TurboTax software, and that there has been progress in updating their Asian media.

The library also now has access to the Empire Pass, which allows people to get into New York State parks, Corcoran said.

Additionally, there will be a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. on March 12 for the new STEM lab in the Main Library, Corcoran said.

Van Dyne said that the Lakeville branch library has new furniture.

About the author

Janelle Clausen

Janelle Clausen is a reporter with Blank Slate Media covering the Great Neck peninsula and Town of North Hempstead. She previously freelanced for the Amityville Record, Massapequa Post and the Babylon Beacon. When not reporting, the south shore native can...
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