The Forest Park Public Library is expected to choose a new library director on Dec. 3, but it may not become official until Dec. 19.
Pilar Shaker, the previous library board director, resigned effective Oct. 28 after six years on the job. Sue Quinn, former River Forest Public Library director, has been serving as interim director while the library board worked with Chicago-based Deiters & Todd to find a permanent replacement. The board is currently down to two finalists, and they expect to make the final selection during a special Dec. 3 meeting.
According to a Nov. 8 Deiters & Todd memo, 17 candidates applied, and the firm narrowed that list down to 12. The firm then interviewed those candidates on Nov. 8 to 10, narrowing the list down to six.
“The overall quality of those applicants is exceptional,” the memo stated. “We have never had so many candidates tell us that Forest Park was their first/best library job or the first managerial experience of their careers.”
During an Oct. 17 meeting, the board put together a Search Committee, which includes board president Brooke Sievers, trustees Eboni Murray and Keary Bramwell, adult services manager Skye Lavin and patron services manager Claudia Corzine. It held two special meetings on Nov. 14 and 15, interviewing three candidates per meeting and further narrowing down the field to two finalists. The meetings were held in closed session.
During the Nov. 21 meeting, the trustees agreed to make the final selection on Dec. 3. The trustees will interview the first finalist in the morning and the second finalist in the afternoon. Sievers said the finalists will be asked 7 to 9 questions developed by the board.
The Dec. 3 session will also give staff members an opportunity to talk to the finalists. According to the Deiters & Todd memo, the consultants will interview the staff members to get their impressions and conduct a straw poll to see which finalist the majority prefers. The memo emphasizes that the information is there to help the trustees make their decision, but it’s not binding.
Sievers said she would like to have as many trustees attend as possible.
“The goal is that we’ll have a clear winner we’ll want to negotiate with, and then we’ll make that determination at the end of that day,” she said. “It could be a very long meeting, unless we’re all in agreement.”
According to the memo, once the board settles on the candidate, the library would draft an employment agreement and do a final background check.
Since the board can’t vote in the closed session, the trustees will need to actually approve the candidate hiring. The memo states that it would take place during the regularly scheduled Dec. 12 board meeting. The hiring will take effect in January 2023.
Quinn’s contract runs through the end of February 2023 – something that was put in place to help with the transition.