The Oak Park Public Library seems to be able to have and eat its cake regarding its upcoming search for a new director. The process will be led by a local library professional for free.

The library board announced in February it would conduct a national search for a replacement for Ed Byers, who served as director during a decade of change, including the new $29 million facility at 834 Lake St.

But Library Board President Janet Kelenson said at the time that the board had a strong candidate for the position in assistant director and Oak Park resident Jim Madigan. That led some to question the need for hiring a consultant to lead the search.

Instead, the board found Alice Calabrese, executive director of the Metropolitan Library System, who recently led a successful search for a new director for the Indian Prairie Public Library in Darien, Kelenson wrote in a March 30 statement. Calabrese is a River Forester, to boot.

Because Oak Park is a member of the Metropolitan Library System, Calabrese’s expertise will come free of charge.

“Because Ms. Calabrese is a River Forest resident, she is very aware of Oak Park’s diverse and involved community,” Kelenson writes. “Because she is a leader in the library world, she is very aware of Oak Park Public Library’s outstanding staff, services and facilities.”

Library HR director Kay Speyer will assist in the search. Other staff input has been sought, too.

Kelenson anticipates that community members will have a chance to meet director finalists in May.

?#34;Drew Carter

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