Schaumburg library gaining trustee, losing director
Just as the Schaumburg Township District Library board completes its search for a new member this month, its seven trustees soon will be starting a search for a new executive director.
Executive Director Monica Harris will be moving on in December to become associate executive director of the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), which serves libraries throughout the northern half of the state, with the exception of Chicago's.
Her Dec. 11 departure will be just weeks after library trustees' anticipated Nov. 18 appointment of Schaumburg resident Erin Flannigan-Davies to fill the board vacancy created by the resignation of Gerald Bromley when he moved out of the district this summer.
Board President Anita Forte-Scott said trustees will be saddened by the loss of the great leadership Harris has provided both as director and deputy director before that. But they are thrilled she has an opportunity for greater influence on the direction of the region's libraries, she added
"We're not really losing her because we're going to have close ties," Forte-Scott said.
Harris, who succeeded Stephanie Sarnoff in January 2017, credits her time in Schaumburg for preparing her for the role that lies ahead.
"Schaumburg is an amazing place," Harris said. "I think it gave me a lot of opportunities to lead. It's a bigger library with a bigger budget."
Among the accomplishments she's most proud of are the complete update of the library's website and catalog to create a better experience for patrons.
Forte-Scott expects the nationwide search for a new permanent director to take between three and six months. But an interim director -- who could possibly be an internal candidate or a retired library director found by a consultant -- will be in place by the time of Harris' departure.
Previous nationwide searches recruited Sarnoff from the Scarsdale Public Library in New York in 2008 and found Harris already in her deputy director role in 2016.
Mike Madden, who preceded them both, was executive director for more than 41 years.
Forte-Scott said this is the first time an interim director will be needed because both Madden and Sarnoff's departures were long-planned retirements.
It is important that a full board of seven trustees participate in the search process, Forte-Scott said. The selection of Flannigan-Davies from among 12 applicants to be that seventh member was a unanimous one of the current trustees, she added.
Flannigan-Davies will come to the board with more than 30 years of corporate and team management skills at Allstate Insurance, including an extensive background in information technology, Forte-Scott said. She also served on a homeowner's association board for 16 years and was its president for 13.
Flannigan-Davies' term will expire in the spring of 2021. She has expressed interest in running for trustee at that time, Forte-Scott said.