City, rural libraries gain new directors

Beth Hudson has taken over the reins at the Walla Walla Public Library.

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Change is in the air for the local library systems, with a new director in place at the city library and an interim director named for the Walla Walla County Rural Library District.

WALLA WALLA - The two largest library organizations in the Valley have new directors.

Walla Walla Public Library filled the vacancy created when past library director Martha Van Pelt left in July 2010.

The Walla Walla Country Rural Library District also hired an interim executive director, while district looks to hire a replacement for current executive director Punkey Adams, who is expected to retired in the near future, a district official said.

Walla Walla Library Director Beth Hudson, who has been with the Walla Walla Library for 20 years, was promoted from support services librarian to director at the start of this month.

Hudson earned her master's in library science from University of Washington, then took a library job in Walla Walla, thinking she would only be here a couple years.

"I did not want to move away from the West side. I was absolutely in love with Seattle and the beautiful ocean. And I thought a couple years would look good on my resume. But then I fell in love with Walla Walla and got married and have never regretted staying here," Hudson said.

As library director, Hudson's salary range is $76,140 to $92,640.

Walla Walla County Rural Library District Interim Executive Director Aletha Bonebrake started on Sept. 8.

Bonebrake is a retiree of the Baker County, Ore., Library District, where she served as CEO for 22 years, with another 21 years of additional library experience.

Bonebake was hired to help with recruitment of a new executive director, aiding in current contract negotiations with the city, development of more effective methods of cooperation between the Rural Library District, city library and Walla Walla Community College library and regular administrative duties.

"It is really important to have continuity. And so I have run a district for 22 years, all aspects...I even built buildings. It is like I can jump in pretty easily and get up to speed so that I can carry on and we can determine what kind of executive director we will be wanting," Bonebrake said.

Bonebrake's contract is tentatively set to not exceed $106,000, includes commuting expenses and may come in considerably under the not-to-exceed amount, depending on length of employment, Bonebrake said.

District board members are expect to approve her contract at Monday's board meeting.

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