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Falls library board picks new director
Votes to offer job to head of Lewiston library, OKs negotiating an employment agreement

Ronald W. Shaw, director of the Lewiston Public Library since September 2006, has been tapped to become executive director of the Niagara Falls Public Libraries.

The five-member library board of trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to offer the position to Shaw, one of about a dozen applicants who were considered for the appointment. Interim Director Daniel R. Killian was authorized to negotiate an employment agreement with Shaw.

Killian said he hoped to begin the negotiations today, with a view toward recommending Shaw's hiring at a special board meeting Tuesday.

"I would expect him to begin work in Niagara Falls in early May, because he would give at least 30 days' notice of his resignation at Lewiston," Killian said.

It would be a provisional appointment, pending the results of a state Civil Service examination for the post, he added.

"Mr. Shaw is a dynamic person. He is well aware of the community. He impressed us during his interview, especially with his attitude of service to the community. And that's just what the library is: a service to the community," said library board President Dolores Marino.

She said she expected that an annual salary in the range of $70,000 to $80,000 would be negotiated.

Shaw would succeed Betty Babanoury, who resigned in November. He would be in charge of the main Earl Brydges Library, 1425 Main St., and the LaSalle Branch Library, 8728 Buffalo Ave.

A native of Tonawanda, Shaw has a degree in library science. He began his career in libraries in 1998 in North Tonawanda and was working as a reference librarian there when he was selected as director of the Lewiston Public Library.

At a particularly trying time for library budgets in 2008, a group of nine employees at the Lewiston library wrote a letter in support of Shaw.

"Since Mr. Shaw became the director two years ago, the library has been raised to a new level of professionalism and service," they wrote. "Mr. Shaw has developed the Genealogy Room and secured grants for programs such as the Creative Writing Series. . . . We also feel that [he] has been caring and understanding of the library and its staff needs."

In other action at Wednesday's meeting, Killian told library trustees that a substantial bequest had been made to the Orrin Dunlap Trust, which supports the library's local history section but is separate from the library itself. The library's trustees oversee the trust fund.

The bequest, from an unnamed donor, is expected to be accepted at Tuesday's meeting. The amount of the bequest was not disclosed.

Marino said the trust was established in memory of Orrin Dunlap, a widely known photographer in the early 1900s. Many of Dunlap's photos are on display in the library, and his daughter, Helen, worked as a librarian there in the 1960s. She died in the 1970s, and the trust fund was established by the Dunlap family.

Dunlap's historical photos have been widely published, including a memorable picture of then-President William McKinley visiting Niagara Falls on Sept. 6, 1901, before he was shot later that day by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. He died of his wound Sept. 14, 1901.

e-mail: rbaldwin@buffnews.com

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