Riverhead Free Library interim director Kathy Richter following her appointment April 1. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead Free Library trustees accepted the resignation of director Joy Rankin and appointed Kathy Richter of Greenport interim director at a special board meeting yesterday evening.

The votes on both resolutions were unanimous, 6-0, with trustee John Munzel absent.

Richter served as library director in Riverhead from 1992 to 1996. Prior to that, she was the library’s AV director. She had been employed by the library a total of 16 years, board president Kathy Berezny said. Richter is currently employed as a teacher in the Greenport school district.

“Welcome home,” Berezny told Richter after the vote on her appointment. She presented the new interim with a bouquet of flowers.

Berezny closed the meeting, which was attended mostly by library staff, immediately after the votes.

Rankin’s resignation follows the resignations of four of the library’s seven sitting trustees, including the board president, all since Jan. 1. Three of the trustees submitted scathing letters of resignation to the board, charging the remaining members with creating a negative, hostile environments. One former member, the board’s only African-American, charged board members with bigotry. See prior story.

Speaking on behalf of the board yesterday, Berezny adamantly denied those charges in an interview. She said the library trustees are “going in a different direction” and decided not to renew Rankin’s contract, which ends in August.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.