Forest Park library leaders voted unanimously Sept. 19 to hire an interim director and a library director search consulting firm to find a permanent replacement for departing executive director Pilar Shaker.

The choice of the consulting firms came down to Chicago-based Deiters & Todd and Canton, Ohio based Bradbury Miller Associates. The board chose the former because they offered a significantly lower price and because the trustees ultimately preferred their offer. 

For the interim director, the library board only considered one choice – former River Forest Public Library director Sue Quinn. Board president Brooke Sievers said they liked the fact that Quinn was already familiar with the area, and the staff had positive experiences working with her in the past as part of earlier inter-library collaborations.

Shaker will resign from the Forest Park Public Library effective Oct. 28. Quinn’s contract will begin Oct. 17 and will run until Feb. 28, 2023. The library board hopes to hire Shaker’s permanent replacement in January 2023, with Quinn staying on for an extra month to help onboard the new hire.

During a special Sept. 1 library board meeting, Sievers said the board would look at three director search firms – Dieters & Todd, Bradbury Miller and the Downers Grove-based HR Source. During the Sept. 19 meeting, she said HR Source ultimately decided it didn’t have the staff to handle what the library was asking. Sievers also said that John Keister, of Vernon Hills-based John Keister & Associates, reached out to the library on his own accord, but his firm ended up passing as well.

“He came back and said they couldn’t meet our timeline,” she said.

Board Vice-President Keary Bramwell said she liked that Bradbury Miller’s proposal called for a wider pool of potential candidates, but she preferred Dieters & Todd’s proposal in other respects.

Sievers asked trustee Eboni Murray, who has HR experience, which approach would be best. Murray responded that it was about the quality rather than quantity.

“If there are three really good ones, why do we even waste our time [on others]?” she said.

Sievers said she saw first hand just how far Bradbury Miller’s outreach went – but she was still inclined to support Dieters & Todd. After some discussion, the trustees agreed that they couldn’t overlook the fact that the latter firm’s fee was $13,000, almost half of Bradbury Miller’s $25,000. The fact that Dieters & Todd was local also worked in their favor. 

The trustees agreed to ask the firm to submit a wider pool of candidates.

Either hire would have been far below the $50,000 the board allocated for the director search. 

While the board considered only one interim director candidate, they spent about half an hour interviewing Quinn in closed session. Once the meeting returned to open session, the appointment was approved without further discussion.

Sievers told the Review that the library will be paying Quinn $125 an hour, and that the contract specifies that she won’t be working more than 75 hours per month. 

Quinn started working at the River Forest Library in 2007, working her way up to director in 2016. Sievers said the fact that she lives in Oak Park and spent so many years working in River Forest means that she is familiar with this corner of the western suburbs. 

While Quinn attended the Sept. 19 meeting, she left after the closed session concluded.