DUDLEY - The firing of a popular librarian that prompted a camel caravan protest down Schofield Avenue this week was allegedly set off by second-hand allegations by an unnamed library staffer.
The board of library trustees voted 3-2 on July 31 to terminate the employment of Kathy Dunton Farnsworth for “insubordinate behavior.”
At the meeting, Karen E. Wall, director of the Pearle L. Crawford Memorial Library, made the allegation and read a statement from a library staff member, whose name was not revealed.
According to her “Request for Disciplinary Action” against Ms. Dunton Farnsworth, Ms. Wall said a patron spoke "disparagingly" to a library staffer about Ms. Wall.
Laura J. Crompton was identified as the “patron” by Ryan P. Avery (Ms. Dunton Farnsworth’s lawyer) and by Ms. Crompton herself. Ms. Wall also confirmed the “patron” to be Ms. Crompton at the same meeting, Mr. Avery said.
According to Ms. Wall, the unnamed library staff member alleged Ms. Crompton cited Ms. Dunton Farnsworth as the source of the disparaging remark.
In an affidavit, Ms. Crompton said she told the unnamed library staffer about an “uncomfortable interaction” that she and her granddaughter recently had with Ms. Wall. According to the affidavit, the unnamed library staffer shook her head when she heard Ms. Crompton’s story and told Ms. Crompton that she was talking to an elderly man in the library a few days earlier when Ms. Wall came up and told the man, “Goodbye, time to leave!”
In her affidavit, Ms. Crompton said she did not speak to Ms. Dunton Farnsworth about the conversation she had with a library staff member or her complaint about Ms. Wall, nor has Ms. Dunton Farnsworth ever complained to her about Ms. Wall during her visits to the library.
In her “Request for Disciplinary Action,” Ms. Wall said various staff members (none of whom she named) had allegedly told her that Ms. Dunton Farnsworth had made “negative comments” since Ms. Wall was hired as director in 2013 in an attempt to effect her "credibility and authority."
Ms. Wall said she confronted Ms. Dunton Farnsworth on several occasions but Ms. Dunton Farnsworth “would always deny making the comments.” Nowhere does it state in her “Request for Disciplinary Action” that Ms. Wall ever heard Ms. Dunton Farnsworth make disparaging comments.
On Wednesday, Patricia P. Korch, one of the library trustees who voted to terminate Ms. Dunton Farnsworth’s employment, said the fired librarian has been “undermining her supervisor" and “behavior of this kind has been a part of Ms. Dunton Farnsworth’s record for most of the last 10 years.”
Ms. Dunton Farnsworth could not be reached for comment.