Less than a year into her job as director of the North Riverside Public Library, Lorene Kennard has resigned and library officials are faced with hiring their third director since 2014.
That search won’t begin for a few months, said Annette Corgiat, president of the North Riverside Public Library District’s board. In the meantime, the library board has tapped Marilyn Boria to serve as interim director.
Boria, who retired after 27 years as director of the Elmhurst Public Library in 2011, signed on in North Riverside at the beginning of September. Since her retirement, Boria has become something of a library troubleshooter.
She’s served as interim library director in Berwyn, Forest Park, Geneva, Sugar Grove and Carol Stream, often coming in on the heels of controversy in order to calm the waters.
According to Corgiat, Boria works part time in North Riverside, and she will serve in the interim capacity for roughly the next six months. The library board has not yet posted a job notice seeking a new director.
The circumstances surrounding Kennard’s departure aren’t completely clear and attempts to reach her prior to press time were unsuccessful. Corgiat said the decision to leave North Riverside was Kennard’s and that her resignation came as a surprise.
Although Kennard reportedly offered to stay for two weeks, after announcing in late August her intention to leave, the library board decided to cut the cord immediately.
The library board hired Kennard in November 2016 to replace Ted Bodewes, who left to take on the director’s role at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library in Western Springs. Prior to North Riverside, Kennard was director of the Morris Area Public Library.
Her tenure there included a bit of controversy: She drew a public protest for firing a children’s librarian who’d been at that library for 40 years. That employee was later reinstated by the library board.
The timing of Kennard’s departure was difficult because two recent staff resignations — longtime adult services librarian John Zmola retired at the end of June and a secretary resigned to pursue a full-time position elsewhere — left the library short-handed.
On Sept. 18, the library board moved to shore up the organization by creating two new hybrid positions and hiring people to staff them.
Brittany Musial, who had been working part time in the Youth Services Department, has been promoted to the newly created job of teen/tween librarian and head of technical services.
Meanwhile, the library board has also decided to create the post of assistant library director. On Sept. 18, Susan Locander, the library’s longtime head of youth services, was named assistant library director. She remains the head of youth services.
In taking on the new role, Locander was also given a 5 percent salary raise by the library board.