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updated: 4/21/2011 9:20 AM

Carol Stream Library adding staff

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Carol Stream Public Library will hire three people to help deal with increased workload, officials say.

The move was foreshadowed last month during discussions about the fiscal 2012 library budget, which included funding for new hires.

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On Wednesday, the library board made the new positions official, along with giving Library Director Ann Kennedy the go-ahead to award merit increases to staff in amounts not to exceed 4 percent. The board also awarded Kennedy a 3 percent merit increase following a closed session in which her job performance was evaluated.

Board members voted 5-1 on the recommendations, with Trustee Michael Wade the lone vote against.

The votes came one meeting before two new board members -- David DeRango and Dominick Jeffrey -- are seated next month. They ran on a slate opposing what they say are high library taxes and improper spending.

Wade, who won election in 2009 when he ran on a slate with DeRango and Jeffrey, questioned if the new board could eliminate the new positions if trustees decide to do so.

"The board could eliminate jobs today," responded President Robert Douglas.

But Trustee Tom Arends, who voted with Wade in March against Kennedy's recommended budget and who would be a crucial swing vote, supported hiring new library staff members.

The positions are for a librarian in the adult services department, and a library page and part-time clerk in the circulation services department.

Kennedy said activity has increased in all departments, particularly in adult services. She also said that while librarians have been busy answering reference questions, they've been drawn away from other responsibilities, such as developing the library's collection.

Wade cited the library's reference transactions, which showed there to be 5,148 in June and 3,594 in February -- and said library staff has been able to handle both.

Douglas said that was comparing apples and oranges, and reference questions in total jumped 20.52 percent from year to year.

"If we were just coping in fiscal year 2010, we're not going to be able to cope in fiscal year 2011," Douglas said.

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