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updated: 5/31/2013 2:34 PM

Spears out as Naperville Library director

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  • John Spears

    John Spears


Naperville Public Library Director John Spears is out after less than two years leading the three-library system.

Spears, who was named director on July 25, 2011, announced his resignation to Mayor George Pradel and other city officials in an email Thursday evening.

In the email, Spears said he is leaving to become the executive director of the Salt Lake City Public Library. His last day in Naperville will be July 5 and he will begin his new job July 15.

"As a major urban library, this opportunity is one that will present many challenges and one that I would not have been prepared for without the experiences that I have gained during my time in Naperville," Spears wrote. "Over the past two years, the support given to the library by the city has allowed for truly tremendous things to occur, and I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to work with each of you."

Spears said he will work with the library board to ensure "as smooth a transition to the future as possible."

Board President Jeff Davis said he recently gave Spears a positive recommendation for the position so he was not surprised to learn, earlier this week, that Spears was leaving.

"We think the world of John Spears. The guy is a true visionary in every sense of the word," Davis said. "We're very happy for him and sad to see him go at the same time."

Davis said he was most impressed with some of the change Spears ushered in during his tenure, including the recent trial of expanding Sunday hours from 5 to 9 p.m. at Nichols Library and increasing the library's ability to loan tablets and electronic materials that can be downloaded to them.

Davis said the board will discuss how it intends to move forward at its June 19 board meeting. In the meantime, he expects Deputy Director Julie Rothenfluh to assume the role until a new director is found. Davis also said he expects the board will, again, conduct a national search for Spears' replacement.

Spears, an Oswego resident, was the library manager of Naperville Public Library's 95th Street Library from 2007-09 before becoming the executive director of the Joliet Public Library in October 2009. He returned to Naperville in July 2011.

Calls placed to Spears Friday morning were not immediately returned.

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