Library board chairman says retiring director 'will be hard to replace'

Longtime library director Jean Tsang recently announced her retirement.

A library employee since 1980, Tsang said in a letter to the mayor and the library board that she thinks it’s time for someone with “stronger technological skills and a fresh eye” to take over the job.

“When I began working at Milford Public Library in October of 1980, I envisioned a two- to three-year commitment,” she said. “Little did I imagine that I would be drawn into the warmth and charm of a generous community that would become my year-round home.”

She said the renovation of the building and the addition of e-books and downloadable audiobooks have been high points in her career.

“Of course, there were hardships,” Tsang added. “The flood of 1982, a leaky roof, and budgetary constraints made for challenges.”

Library Board member Telka DiFate was chairman of the board when the previous director retired and a national search began to find his replacement, ultimately choosing Tsang.

DiFate said a similar process will take place this time, with a committee forming to start the search process. She expects a member of the state library board will sit on the panel.

Library Board Chairman Peter Vita said it will be hard to replace Tsang because she has so many positive attributes.

“She’s resourceful, dedicated and always moving forward,” Vita said. “Over the years she’s worked hard to get funding for the library and to make things happen.”

The job is projected to pay about $91,000 in 2013-14 under the current budget proposal.

While Tsang was promoted from within — she had been director of the children’s department before — DiFate said she doesn’t think it will be a priority to find a new director from within the staff. The goal is to find the best candidate, and that person could come from near or far, she suggested.

“We’ll be looking for a person with a passion for the field and the ability to meet the needs of the community,” DiFate said.

Those are some of the attributes she lists when she talks about Tsang and her work with the city.

“Jean has done a fabulous job,” DiFate said. “I don’t think you could ask for a better person. She’s had lots of great ideas.”

Tsang said her years with the library have been fulfilling. She credited the staff with making the job such a pleasure and with helping to make Milford Library a better place.

Tsang’s retirement is effective June 21.

“The time is right for me both personally and professionally to retire,” she wrote in her letter to the board. “It is also time for someone with stronger technological skills and a fresh eye to take on this challenging position.”