News - Joliet and Will County

Joliet library starts search for new director

Former Joliet Public Library Director Kevin Medows, who left the library May 19, is seen March 10, 2015 at the downtown branch.

JOLIET – The Joliet Public Library is looking for a new director.

Director Kevin Medows left May 19 to take a position with the Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich, library officials said.

The library will hire a consultant to do a national search and hopes to have a new director by fall, board President Lynn Poper Samalea said.

Samalea said Medows told the board his new job would allow him to pursue his interests in technology and would be closer to his home in Rolling Meadows.

"Kevin did express that this opportunity presented itself," Samalea said. "It was close to home. It involved technology. And, it was good for him and his family."

Medows' departure follows that of Deputy Director Pam Dube, who left in April to become director of the Woodridge Public Library.

The board will not look to fill the position of deputy director. Samalea said that appointment is left to the director.

Board Secretary Esperanza Chavez said the departures were due to new job opportunities and Medows' interest in working closer to home.

"Opportunities came up, and they took advantage of them," Chavez said.

The next library director will be the fourth since Jim Johnston, who headed the library for 33 years, retired in 2009.

Johnston was followed by John Spears, who stayed less than two years. He was followed by Dianne Harmon, a longtime library employee who was planning her retirement when she took the job.

Medows came to Joliet from the Warren-Newport Public Library District in Lake County, where he was head of technical services. He was hired as deputy director in May 2012 and became director in January 2013.

Until a new director is hired, the board has appointed two library officials as interim co-directors – Helene Marzec, chief operations officer at the Main Branch, and Laura Yanchick, youth services manager at the Black Road Branch.

"Both are exceptional and have been at the library for awhile," Samalea said. " ... We're comfortable with them at the helm."

Meanwhile, the nine-member library board also has two vacancies. Board member Kim Neidermyer moved out of Joliet in April. The position of Ron Cornelius, who died in late 2015, has not been filled. Library board members are appointed by the mayor.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News