Carol Stream begins search for new library director

  • Former Carol Stream Library Director Ann Kennedy says she was planning a technology upgrade for the library and a celebration for its 50th anniversary, but those plans now are on hold. "Nobody feels like partying right now," she said.

    Former Carol Stream Library Director Ann Kennedy says she was planning a technology upgrade for the library and a celebration for its 50th anniversary, but those plans now are on hold. "Nobody feels like partying right now," she said. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Posted7/27/2012 10:40 AM

The search for a new Carol Stream Public Library director is about to begin in the wake of this week's firing of Ann Kennedy, but it's unlikely a decision will come soon.

Board President Mike Wade said he hasn't yet talked with interim Director Mary Clemens about finding a permanent replacement, but the library may use a search firm to evaluate resumes and interview applicants.


The board plans to discuss the next steps at its Aug. 15 meeting, Wade said.

He said the board is going to rely on the staff to do much of the preliminary work, such as looking at resumes and qualifications.

"They're going to have to deal with the director on a day-to-day basis. The board is going to take their lead," he said. "If we've got 50 resumes and (the staff's) got it down to five candidates because of x, y and z qualifications, the board will talk about those five with staff. I hope the board and staff can come to a mutual agreement."

Ultimately, though, the decision rests with the same seven-member board that voted 4-2 Wednesday (with one absentee) to fire Kennedy.

Kennedy, who spent 20 years at the library, including the past six as director, was dismissed at Wade's urging. The two were at odds for years, beginning with the director's support for a new library facility on Kuhn Road.

Wade's majority included David DeRango and Dominick Jeffrey, who ran on the same slate as Wade in opposition to what they called high library taxes and spending by Kennedy. But DeRango and Jeffrey's significant others were also fired by Kennedy as circulation desk clerks, and both women filed suits against the library.

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DeRango and Jeffrey said their votes weren't in retaliation, but were based solely on Kennedy's performance and "communication issues" cited by Wade in a four-page single-spaced document.

Wade said he doesn't think the controversy surrounding Kennedy's firing will prevent qualified candidates from applying for the director's post.

"I think every organization goes through changes. We're not the first library to dismiss a director and we're probably not going to be the last library," Wade said. "I think candidates recognize there are changes. It just goes with the territory of, if there's a vacancy at a library and they want a job, they'd apply for it."

"It's not going to be detrimental because we let Ann Kennedy go."

Wade said it could take a couple months -- or as much as a year -- to find a replacement.

"Other libraries have taken a year to find the right candidate," Wade said. "It depends on who's available."

Until then, Clemens will be responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations in addition to her full-time job as head of youth services. She is also handling responsibilities of her old position, director of circulation.


The library also is without an assistant director -- a position for which Kennedy had conducted phone interviews and was about to do in-person interviews.

Kennedy said she spent the past week preparing Clemens for her new role.

The library's annual audit was being conducted this past week and Kennedy said she told the auditors Wednesday to "ask your questions today."

Kennedy had been one of the signatories on the library's checks -- a responsibility now fully in the hands of Wade as board president and DeRango as library treasurer. But they usually only sign checks at monthly board meetings, Kennedy said, which could present a problem for payroll and credit card bills that are more frequent.

Kennedy said she was working on a computer upgrade initiative that is now effectively on hold. The library has 45 computers, each with 500 kilobytes, and she was going to propose purchasing or leasing computers with four gigabytes.

She said she also was organizing the library's 50th anniversary celebration to be held in September with an ice cream social and band. The Friends of the Library was going to host mini-golf inside the library, but that's been canceled.

"Nobody feels like partying right now," Kennedy said.

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