Stop the presses!
Well, almost. Late Tuesday evening this week, only a short time prior to completing this week’s issue of The Voice for an early Wednesday morning press time we received information about the Aurora Public Library West Branch: It will not move from its site. Another bulletin: Michaela Haberkern was appointed executive director, effective in early March when Daisy Porter-Reynolds leaves for a new situation in St. Louis.
The news about keeping the West Branch at its site adjacent to Washington Middle School is and will be greeted with relief and joy by many West Side residents. The turbulence whether and where the West Branch would move brought activity and democratic moves by many residents with signs, meetings, and public outcry. The pressure applied by many residents was a lesson in showing will and determination to reach the decision-makers. The vote at the monthly Aurora Public Library Board of Directors was 6-0 to stay in one place.
The press release sent by communications director, Miriam Meza: “APL considered several options, including renovation, new construction, and relocation to a rental space. Many hours were spent researching other library branches and exploring reconfiguration options for the current West Branch location. Possible locations for a new facility and relocation within the West Side were explored, but eventually ruled out based on lack of funding as well as a determination that the available sites would not fulfull the Library’s goals….Community input was gathered through….listening sessions….The advisory team made up of representatives from each ward on the West Side…and has eliminated the possibility of moving….”
Haberkern has served as the APL deputy director since January 2016. She held leadership positions at the Hinsdale Public Library, Skokie Public Library, and St. Louis County Public Library. She said: “I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as the director of the Aurora Public Library. The staff, Board, and community are incredibly passionate about their library, and I look forward to working with them on making Aurora’s library services the very best.”