Longtime clerk now leads the library in Westerlo

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Amy Powarzynski shelves books Tuesday at the Westerlo library she now directs.

WESTERLO — Less than a month after the resignation of its former director, the Westerlo Public Library has promoted library clerk Amy Powarzynski to the top spot, which pays roughly $28,000 per year.

Powarzynski’s first day in her new role was Monday, Jan. 25.

“It was a little hectic,” she told The Enterprise.

Originally from Rochester, Powarzynski, 54, moved to the Capital District with her husband in 1995, and to Westerlo in 2001.

Powarzynski has been a regular patron of the library since then, she said, and wound up working for the library when a vacancy opened in the summer of 2011.

“I’ve always been a library user,” Powarzynski said, “and when [former director] Sue Hoadley was hired and one of the clerks was retiring, I was told I should apply for the clerk position, and I did … and I worked for Sue for almost nine years.”

After Hoadley retired, Debbie Scott became director in August 2019; Scott resigned in December last year for unspecified reasons.

Westerlo Public Library Board of Trustees President Maureen Sikule told The Enterprise that Powarzynski was one of three finalists in addition to Scott who had applied after Hoadley resigned in 2019, and it was from those finalists that Scott’s replacement was selected.

Sikule said that, on a personal level, she was impressed with how “well-read” Powarzynski is, and noted her history with the library.

Sikule praised Powarzynski’s digital media skills and said, “She’s also been very good, since Debbie left, being able to understand some of the director duties, and she does very well with showing me how to do some of the weeding and ordering.” 

Powarzynski is picking up where Scott left off, helping the library navigate a pandemic that limits the ability of patrons to participate in programs or borrow materials in person, and it’s in this area where Powarzynski has found her priorities.

“Right now,” Powarzynski said, “my goal is to keep the library going in COVID times and boost circulation and get the word out that the library is available — not the way we’d most like the library to be available, but we want people to know that we’re here to help.”

She thinks the library is in good standing to weather the pandemic. “I don’t want to compare us to other libraries but we’re managing more programs than most,” she said. “There’s someone here at our regular hours to get people what they need, and that’s a good start.” 

Powarzynski’s second goal is to make the library more accessible, she said, “so that more people value the library as much as I do.”



More Hilltowns News

  • In a letter to the Westerlo Town Board this week, the town’s planning board chairman, Beau Loendorf, requested that the planning board be allowed oversight of the new firehouse project sought by the local volunteer fire department, which is believed to be immune to local zoning. 

  • This week, the Rensselaerville Town Board moved ahead with a law that would — on paper, at least — allow marijuana dispensaries to operate in the town, scheduling a public hearing for Sept. 28. Meanwhile, discussion about another law, which would regulate Airbnbs and other short-term rentals, was paused for lack of urgency.

  • Under the belief that an auto dealer would be setting up in Rensselaerville, dozens of residents showed up at a planning board hearing to learn that that was not the case — but it didn’t stop them from airing their grievances anyway.

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