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St. Charles Library Board to hire search firm to find next library director

Edith Craig submitted her resignation letter last month

The St. Charles Library Board plans to hire an executive search firm to help find the next director for the St. Charles Public Library.

Board members will discuss the issue at their next board meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Last month, St. Charles Public Library Director Edith Craig submitted her resignation letter announcing that she’s stepping down after more than five years in her position.

Her last day was at the end of April. Craig was hired in September 2016 at an annual starting salary of $108,000.

“The library is in a great spot to take on a new leader,” Craig stated in her resignation letter. “Embarking on a new strategic plan, starting a new budget cycle and continuing negotiations with the library’s bargaining unit are just some examples of fresh things a new director will be ready to take on.”

In the letter, Craig did not state what she will be doing next. When asked, she did not elaborate on what her plans entail.

In her time as director, Craig oversaw the $18.6 million renovation and expansion of the library, which opened to the public in July 2021. Last summer, the majority of employees at the library filed to form a union through the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31.

Earlier this year, the library closed to in-person visits for more than two weeks after threats were made against employees for following the state’s indoor mask requirements that were in place at the time.

A group of more than three dozen people in January protested the library’s decision to follow the statewide indoor mask mandate. Employees also received “hundreds of communications” some that included threatening comments, officials previously said.

Many of these communications and posts threatened a form of physical retaliation against the library, including statements that unmasked large groups would enter the library, according to a post on the library’s website.

When it reopened its doors in early February, a security guard was put in place at the library’s entrance to enforce the COVID mask policy. The library’s contract with STT Security started on Feb. 7.

On Feb. 28, library officials stopped requiring patrons wear masks inside the library, which is when the state’s mask mandate expired. The contract with STT Security is for 90 days, with the contract automatically renewing for additional 30 day terms unless either party provides at least 30 days written notice in advance in order to cancel the contract.

The contract is for 75.5 hours a week, at an estimated cost of $4,041.88 a week.

Craig’s hiring sparked controversy among some staff members because she did not have previous experience as a library director. In an email to the library’s staff after Craig was hired, then-board president Tory Haines acknowledged that one of the staff members’ major concerns was her lack of experience as a director.

“The board placed experience very low on our list of priorities,” Haines’ email in response to staff concerns at the time had stated. “Our previous director had a stellar resume and a wealth of experience, but was not a good fit for our library.”