Man picked as new Anchorage library director not taking job

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 10:13 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The man selected to head the Anchorage Public Library has declined to take the job, according to Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration.

Robert Hudson was named the new library director in an announcement back in April.

Corey Allen Young, spokesman for the mayor’s office, said on Thursday that Hudson changed his mind.

“Mr. Hudson indicated he would need the extra time as he was moving to the U.S. from Canada when he initially accepted the job. Unfortunately, he changed his mind and did not ultimately take the position,” Young said.

Hudson had verbally accepted the offer and the administration had begun planning for his arrival, but Hudson decided not to take the job within the last few days, according to Young.

Young said the administration will move forward by reposting the position and continuing the search for a new library director.

In the interim, Municipal Manager Amy Demboski is serving as the library’s director, and Judy Eledge is the deputy director, according to the mayor’s office.

The search for someone to run the library began last year after Bronson’s initial pick Sami Graham was rejected by the Anchorage Assembly. This led Bronson to select Judy Eledge as library director, and in Nov. she stepped down from that position. Then, six months after Eledge’s announcement, Bronson announced the hiring of Hudson.

“I think, you know, there’s really something, something wrong with the way that this position has been recruited,” Alaska Library Association President Jonas Lamb said. “And I think any applicant would really be hesitant to enter into that sort of environment.”

The AKLA is a professional association for librarians across the state, and the executive board sent letters to the Anchorage Assembly raising concerns over the first appointees because of their lack of experience in a library.

“So, we’ve been monitoring it closely,” Lamb said. “We’ve also, you know, heard from our members who work in the library, who are leaving or resigning positions, who are feeling like they don’t feel comfortable serving in a leadership position on the Alaska Library Association, out of fear of retribution.”

The mayor’s office said human resources are leading the hiring process and they’ll hire someone once they find a qualified candidate.

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