Cook Library names Kershner new director

  • Stephen Kershner is the newly hired Cook library director in Libertyville.

    Stephen Kershner is the newly hired Cook library director in Libertyville.

 
By Phil Collins

Stephen Kershner will take the Cook Memorial Library District's top post as the district prepares to reopen its renovated and expanded Libertyville library this fall.

The library board approved Kershner in a unanimous decision Monday night. Library Board President Bonnie Quirke said she thinks Kershner will bring cohesive leadership to the district.

"We are delighted and thrilled with Mr. Kershner and we look forward to working with him," Quirke said.

Kershner, who will start in September, comes from an assistant library director position at the Pasco County Library System in Hudson, Fla. That system contains seven libraries and more than 120 staff members.

Kershner, who grew up in northern Indiana and has family in the Chicago area, said he's eager to return to a library directorship after spending time working for a county system.

Moving to a district that has just built a brand-new library and is nearly done with an expansion and renovation project at a second facility is "very invigorating," he said.

Since 1973, Kershner has held administrative positions in several library districts including Alton, Ill.; Chardon, Ohio; Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; and Lansing¸ Mich.

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He has a master's degree in library science from Indiana University at Bloomington and a bachelor's degree in education from Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne.

Quirke said the board interviewed about nine candidates for the position. She said the decision came down to two candidates and while both were excellent, the board's decision was unanimous.

"We're one of the best libraries in Illinois and with the help of our new leader, we'll be even better," Quirke said.

Mary Ellen Stembal has been overseeing the district as interim director since the former director, Dan Armstrong, moved up his retirement in February. She'll return to her former position as assistant library director.

The district opened a new $7 million Vernon Hills library in July and the existing Libertyville facility should be ready to reopen in the fall, after $7 million in renovations.