By Jack Reaney STAFF WRITER
The Big Sky Community Library saw unexpected change this week, as Amy Hunter, library director, left the organization as of Tuesday, Jan 17.
The surprising move comes after Hunter had recently discussed new developments including an oral history of Big Sky, formation of a library district and the possibility of a new library facility located closer to the center of Big Sky. Hunter said that board members of the Friends of the Big Sky Community Library “relieved” her of directorship and offered her the role of head librarian, which she declined.
The Friends of the Big Sky Community Library board issued a press release on Thursday, Jan. 19 stating that “the current role of Library Director has also evolved into a Head Librarian position. As a result, we will be losing Amy Hunter as [a] valued member of the library staff. She has resigned from the Big Sky Community Library effective Jan. 17. We wish her well in all her future pursuits. The library’s two assistant librarians are not affected, and the library anticipates no disruption in service.”
The release also referred to “a period of transformative growth as we collaboratively develop plans towards becoming a fully functioning public library and civic gem.”
Hunter said the head librarian position would have shifted her focus toward programming and collections, and away from the “big picture” planning she had embraced in her role as library director. Those responsibilities will be taken by an incoming executive director.
The press release stated that the Friends of the Library will launch a search for an executive director and will release a job posting soon. Interested candidates can email the board.
Hunter spent more than six years as librarian and was nearing the one-year mark of her position as library director.
Her initial priorities as library director had been to increase programming and build more financial stability for the library. She also hoped to increase community partnerships and build more of a presence with the nonprofits in the community. She focused on rebuilding after the library suffered during the early COVID pandemic.
“I love the library,” Hunter said. “I want people to go and check it out and see what it’s about. I want the board and the people there to know what the community wants. Go give [the library] feedback about what [patrons] want to see.”
With regards to her departure, Hunter said she did not see any initiatives or priorities which did not align with the board. Instead, she attributed the shift to “miscommunications and personality differences.”
Hunter explained that she has been very open with new ideas, often pursuing feedback from patrons before proposing them to the board. Hunter believes that in this small community, some ideas and questions reached the board indirectly.
“Once I had [an idea] figured out more, I would talk to the board,” Hunter said with regards to her style of processing and generating ideas.
She said the creation of a library district will remain a key priority in her absence, as it was an initiative originally proposed by the Big Sky Resort Area District. Hunter did the bulk of that research.
While speaking to EBS about the Jan. 19 press release, Hunter emphasized her desire to not stir up trouble with the library or its community.
Library Board Chair Kris Corzine spoke briefly with EBS before meeting with the rest of the board to generate the press release that was distributed on Thursday. Corzine said the board is “currently in process” with handling the transition between Hunter leaving the library and the board hiring a new executive director and head librarian.
“It has happened very rapidly,” Corzine said. She was unavailable for further comment on Friday.