Evanston Library Director Mary Johns has submitted her resignation effective July 15.

Johns has been appointed library director of the Siouxland Libraries in Sioux Falls, S.D., a joint library system of the City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County.

Evanston Library Director Mary Johns has submitted her resignation effective July 15.

Johns has been appointed library director of the Siouxland Libraries in Sioux Falls, S.D., a joint library system of the City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz has appointed Lesley Williams to serve as acting library director beginning July 16 until an interim library director is selected.  Williams is currently the Adult Services Manager of the Evanston Public Library.

“Mary Johns has served as library director during a complex period in the history of the Evanston Public Library.” Bobkiewicz said.

“The library has been through difficult budget and governance challenges while seeing a rebirth of active community support for its services.  Through all of these demanding times, Mary has remained focused on providing the best possible service to library patrons and supporting the talented staff of the library.  Mary’s dedication to serving the residents of Evanston will be missed,” the city manager said.

Johns has served as Evanston library director since February 2008.

Prior to her arrival in Evanston, Johns was assistant library director in Lincoln, Neb., and served in similar capacities in Maricopa County and Chandler, Arizona.

Bobkiewicz says he expects an interim library director will be appointed by Sept. 1.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Mary Johns will truly be missed

    Evanston has made the library director's job next to impossible – a tiny budget compared to most of our peers (some $70 or less per capita vs. $150 per capita for Skokie), an unclear governing structure (does the director report to the city manager?  the board? both?), and a noisy, self-righteous group of library "supporters" who only support the branches and don't appreciate the great work of the whole staff (and treat anyone who doesn't agree with them with scorn).  Despite all that, Ms. Johns made the library a much more collaborative partner, encouraged exciting new programs, and made the library a more welcoming place.  She'll be sorely missed!

      1. I won’t miss her

        She has been less than helpful to our organization, which has a long-standing relationship with the library. 

  2. Something is not working at the City of Evanston

    What is going on?  Over the past several years, Evanston's government seems to be losing smart people who have good people and leadership skills.  It's a real shame.  Alderman need to ask what's going on here. 

    How much does it COST to find qualified staff, train them, familiarize them with the City, etc..  It must take a year or so of time before someone is really up and running, not to mention the 'hard' costs of search firms, etc..  More than ever before, we need to hold on to good people – not push them away.  A couple of weeks ago, the director of HR just announced she was leaving.   Why did the Fire Chief "retire" and then take another position in Winnetka?  What about the Public Works director that left a year or 2 ago?  Then there was the Community Development Director that stayed about 6 months after a big "nationwide" search – maybe he was just not the right fit (i.e. a bad hiring choice after an expensive nationwide search).  I am sure that there are others that I don't know about.  What does all of this COST?  And, living in the middle of about 7 million people, do we really need to spend money on nationwide searches where people have to move here from some other state?  The new director of Community Development lives in a city owned apt. until he finds a house since he moved from out-of-state.  What is all of this costing us?  Something isn't right.  This is not just a coincidence that all of these people are leaving/have left.  The alderman should be seeing a trend here.  And the trend just continues and continues…



    1. Isn’t it obvious?

      How about cutting their staffs and their budgets and telling them to keep on providing the same services?

      1. Not just the same service,

        Not just the same service, but lots of additional services without concomitant pay and lots of pressure to "do more with less," which is the mantra of most bosses these days.

    2. City staff

      The City already had lots of experienced folks, ready to fulfill the mission of helping the citizens. Unfortunately , lots of them got fired/laid off/ retired.

      Quel domage. Too bad. Citizens get shafted in the name of "progress" and fiscal responsibility. Forget expertise and experience.

      the City Manger and his minions are good at laying off experienced people. Good Luck, Evanstonians.


  3. Something is not working…

    ~not to mention all the additional long term talent lost 2008 to 2010. New brooms do like to sweep out those that may prove to be challenging.

  4. Wally’s Agenda

    This is just another example of Wally B's agenda against the competent employees in the city government.  Will the aldermen realize the city government is collapsing?

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