Wheaton picks library director from Itasca

Betsy Adamowski is stepping down as director of the Itasca Community Library to become head of the Wheaton Public Library, and among those praising her selection is the woman she’s replacing.

“I think it’s a very good choice,” said Wheaton Director Sarah Meisels, who is retiring on Sept. 30 after serving 47 years with the library, including the past 35 in its top administrative post. “She’s a wonderful person.”

Adamowski, who has been the library director in Itasca since 2000, is scheduled to start in Wheaton on Oct. 1. She will be paid an annual salary of $116,000.

“I’m so going to miss Itasca,” Adamowski said. “I’ve literally spent half of my life working there.”

Before becoming director of the Itasca library, Adamowski served as its youth services manager from 1989 to 2000.

“I’m excited to take my success and knowledge from 24 years in Itasca to a larger library and see what the next chapter of my career holds,” she said.

Barb Wonser, president of the Wheaton library’s board of trustees, said board members and staff members “unanimously” chose Adamowski over two other finalists.

“She just has a real warm, loving personality that really appeals to people,” Wonser said. “We’re really lucky to have her.”

Wonser said she’s impressed with the level of knowledge Adamowski brings to the position. Adamowski holds a bachelor of science degree from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in library science from Northern Illinois University.

Adamowski said she will spend most of her first month as Wheaton’s library director meeting staff and getting acquainted. Then she expects to start planning.

“I’m hoping to get my feet wet, learn the community and begin strategic planning with the community,” she said.

Meisels, meanwhile, said she’s really looking forward to being able to set her own schedule.

“When you work and have night meetings and all the rest of it, you’re always having to live your life around that,” Meisels said. “Now I’m looking forward to being able to do things on impulse.”

Meisels said she has no plans to leave the city.

“Wheaton is a great place with a great library,” she said, “which I intend to still use as a patron.”

As for the Itasca library, Adamowski said it’s going to be someone else’s turn to lead the facility. “But I’m leaving Itasca with a great foundation,” she said.

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