Library Board deliberately changes to replace executive director


The Evanston Public Library’s trustees need to establish a process for selecting the library’s next executive director, chairman Tracy Fulce said last week.

At last week’s retirement party for Karen Danczak Lyons, Executive Director of the Library. From left, former Evanston Library Director Neal Ney and Evanston County Superintendent Eric Witherspoon wishing well for Danczak Lyons. Credit: Bob Seidenberg

Approaching the quest, the Council has established three groups of committees, including one that will support Heather Norborg. She is the EPL Adult Literacy and Learning Manager, whom the Board chose to serve as the interim Executive Director of the Library with Karen Danczak Lyons, the longtime Director, who retired last week.

“The plan is for the Council to come up with some processes on how it wants to approach this,” said Fulce, who joined other community members at a farewell party for Danczak Lyons held at the main public library on Friday, 16 December. June.

“My personal instinct is that Karen cast a long shadow,” she said. “I think the longer we wait, the more chances we have of finding someone great.

“I don’t want to rush this, and I think Heather is phenomenal, so I don’t see a strong sense of urgency. I think we have supportive leadership and a great team, so I think we’ll get there.

“When we get there,” she added, “we’re definitely going to look for community participation. We have a very collegial way of operating as a Council and we want to ensure that the voice of the community is heard.”

EPL Executive Director Karen Danczak Lyons (Photo via EPL YouTube)

At the Library Board meeting last week, the trustees approved a proclamation in honor of Danczak Lyons, following similar action by the city at its meeting last week.

“Karen has led the Edison Public Library to go beyond the bookshelves and walls of our buildings to engage the residents where they live and gather,” read the Library’s proclamation.

The proclamation also noted that “Karen has reimagined the library as the heart of the Evanston community, engaged a social worker to connect our most vulnerable residents to community resources, and taking an asset-based community development approach that extends the power of of what our community can accomplish and work together.

He also pointed to his role in “reorienting the library’s decision-making process through an equity lens, directing resources to underserved parts of our community, opening the Robert Crown Branch Library and emphasizing the collection that represents an instance of diverse voices.” , including the development of a Spanish-language and programming library.”

Administrator Benjamin Schapiro, who serves as the board’s treasurer, was also on the library board that hired Danczak Lyons.

At the time, the Library was studying to become independent from the city, seeking greater control of its own budget. The selection preceded the achievement of the Library’s independent status and required the city’s authorization, he recalled.

“My goal at the time, and I think this was shared with the other directors, was to find a director who could help us navigate the changes that we were going to go through with this Library and negotiate well with the city and understand how to work with nonprofits. and take us from being a small provincial library to a true city library that would make Evanston proud,” he said.

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