Barrington Area Library gets new executive director

  • Vicki Rakowski, head of operations for the Barrington Area Library, will become its new executive director starting Saturday.

    Vicki Rakowski, head of operations for the Barrington Area Library, will become its new executive director starting Saturday. Courtesy of Barrington Area Library

  • Jesse Henning, executive director of the Barrington Area Library, is leaving the job to move to Denmark, where his wife is pursuing a new career opportunity.

    Jesse Henning, executive director of the Barrington Area Library, is leaving the job to move to Denmark, where his wife is pursuing a new career opportunity. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, 2018

 
 
Posted2/9/2021 4:02 PM

After 13 years in the library field, Vicki Rakowski will become the new executive director of the Barrington Area Library starting Saturday.

Rakowski, the library's head of operations, will replace Jesse Henning, who has served as executive director since April 2018. Henning is moving to Denmark, where his wife is pursuing a new career opportunity, said Karen McBride, the library's public information manager.

 

Rakowski previously served as interim director from October 2017 to April 2018.

"With her knowledge and experience, we expect that she will step into the role seamlessly while providing the leadership to ensure that our talented and dedicated staff continue to meet the varied needs of our patrons and community," library board of trustees President Don Minner said.

Rakowski's salary as executive director will be $123,000. The position was not advertised and no other candidates were interviewed by the board, McBride said.

"We had a highly qualified candidate in-house in Rakowski and are pleased to be able to promote her into this role," Minner said. "We are very confident in her ability to lead our staff and help guide the future direction of the library."

Rakowski, who lives in Oak Park, has a master's degree in library and information science from Dominican University, and a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University. She began her career in library youth services and held several management positions, including over the last four years in Barrington.

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"I am truly honored to be the next director of the Barrington Area Library. I look forward to leading our staff through the difficult times we face at present, as well as the challenges and opportunities in our future," she said. "The four years I have spent in this organization have shown me time and again that this is a special library in a special community."

Henning, whose salary was $129,857, oversaw the elimination of overdue fines, the completion of maintenance projects and an update of library policies to expand access to more residents. The board thanked Henning for his guidance and many accomplishments.

Henning said the library "is truly a special place."

"From my first day on the job, I have been awed and amazed by the level of civic and social engagement among Barrington area residents and how this library plays an important role in supporting that community spirit," he said. "I am proud to have worked with a staff so fiercely dedicated to providing efficient, effective, and transformative library service."

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