This week likely is the last for John Welch to serve as the branch supervisor for the Euchee Creek Library.
Welch is being transferred to the main Columbia County Library in Evans to become a reference specialist.
Though county officials say the transfer is a lateral move that comes with no decrease in pay, Welch said it feels like a demotion.
"I honestly think the intent was to get me to resign on the spot," Welch said of the transfer.
"In the long run, though, if this change is permanent, I don't see myself working for the county much longer."
Welch said last week that he had intended to file a grievance with the county's Human Resources department. He and several Grovetown residents upset by the transfer were scheduled to meet with commission Chairman Ron Cross on Tuesday.
In 1981, Welch took a part-time library position that lasted five years. He became a full-time librarian in 1986 and was chosen the branch supervisor at Euchee Creek Library when it opened in 1994.
Welch holds a bachelor's degree in history, which officials say isn't good enough.
"The main reason (for Welch's transfer) is that state standards require one degreed librarian per every three library personnel," said county Library Manager Mary-Lin Maner. "All branches should have a degreed librarian as the manager."
By "degreed," Maner said she is referring to someone with a master's degree in library science.
"Growth is heading out toward Grovetown, so it kind of needs to be brought up to the standards of the state," she said.
"We felt like a degreed librarian would be the best person to do that."
A bachelor's degree became a requirement for a library branch supervisor position in 2006, said county Human Resources Director Marcia Lowery.
Branch managers must have a master's degree in library science as of 2008.
But those are county requirements. The Georgia Public Library Service does not require a college degree to supervise a library, said Deputy State Librarian Julie Walker.
Welch believes his transfer has less to do with degrees than personality conflicts.
"It was explained to me as being a result of my resistance to change at the library and that particular library needs to be more open and welcoming," Welch said.
Specifically, Welch said, he hasn't added any color to the walls of the library, as was suggested, because he said there are lots of windows bringing in outside color.
Also, he said, it was mentioned that the library needs more adult programming, even though such programs are poorly attended at the Euchee Creek Branch.
Maner said those were among the reasons, but she also noted that Welch had not updated the library's offerings with newer books.
"All things asked of John he didn't do," she said.
Welch said he would have followed any written mandate given to him.
"I've been there all this time, and I feel I've done a good job," he said. "I've not had a bad evaluation on this job.
"As far as I know, I've never had a reprimand."
Replacing Welch at Euchee Creek Library will be current main library reference librarian Keisha Evans.
Personnel from the main library in Evans provide programming at the Euchee Creek Branch, and those employees also "weed out" older books and replace them with new ones, Maner said.
"She'll do a little more programming on her own," Maner said of Evans.
"She's also our grant writer, so putting her out there she'll be able to better see what the area of Grovetown, as well as Harlem, needs to pinpoint sources of funding."
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