Chris Cooper, who has been director of the Nampa Public Library for two years, resigned effective June 9 for family and personal reasons, the Nampa Library Board of Trustees announced Saturday.
“Chris worked hard and was an active advocate for the library in our community,” Trustee Chairman Nick Smith said. “He was willing to perform any and every task needed for good of the library and its customers, and for the good of Nampa’s people. We extend appreciation and warm wishes to Chris and his wife, Susan, as they return to California for family reasons.”
The Nampa Library Board of Trustees, together with the city of Nampa Human Resources Department, is launching a search for a new director. The board has appointed the library’s assistant director, Claire Connley, as interim director. Connley has worked at NPL for eight years and the board expresses confidence in her ability to lead the library through this transition period.
Also on June 9, Phil Bence, a library trustee for four and one-half years, resigned a few months prior to the expiration of his term. He cited his desire to allow a new board member to help in the search for a director, and an increase in his professional and family obligations, as his reasons for stepping down. Bence is pastor of Southside Boulevard Methodist Church and served as library board chair in 2014-2015, when Nampa’s new library was completed.
“Phil was a staunch supporter of the long-range mission of the Nampa Library during his service on the board, and he will be sorely missed,” Smith said. “We’re grateful that he promises to continue to visit the library regularly, to advocate for library services in Nampa, and to sell books online for the Friends of the Library.”
Mayor Bob Henry plans to review the applications he received in December 2015 when he solicited them to replace Library Board trustee Sandi Levi when she transitioned to the City Council.
Henry said there were several good candidates 18 months ago. It’s his hope that he could select one of those applicants and expedite the appointment to the Library Board so the new member can assist in the hiring process as the board begins the search for a new library director.
The City Council must approve Henry’s recommendation to fill Bence’s seat.