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Morris library board hires new director

MORRIS – The Morris Area Public Library board unanimously voted Monday night to hire Morris native Lorene Kennard as a full-time library director.

“We are very happy to be getting a hometown person as director for our library,” library board president Jo Dergo said. “We feel she’ll do an outstanding job.”

After the meeting Dergo called Kennard, who accepted the position.

Dergo said the director position pays $55,000 a year, and due to Kennard’s experience, the board offered an extra week of vacation, so she would be able to take a previously scheduled vacation at Christmas.

Kennard, who was born and raised in Grundy County, attended Morris Elementary School District 54 until sixth grade, when the family moved to Mazon. She graduated from the former Mazon Verona Kinsman High School.

She received her bachelor’s degree in public relations with a minor in English from Illinois State University. She received a master’s degree in library information science from the University of South Carolina.

“Lorene will be a great fit,” board member Steve Larson said. “We’ve been trying to find someone who would fit with our town.”

The board said it conducted an extensive, thorough search as it sought the best-qualified person for the position.

She currently works at White Oak Library District, which covers Crest Hill, Romeoville and Lockport. She started there in 2008, and has been acting as interim director at Pontiac Public Library since October.

Kennard said Tuesday she is happy to be the director at the library she went to as a child.

“I’m really excited to be the director of my hometown library,” she said.

The position has been open since August, when former library director Kyla Waltermire resigned. The reason for her resignation has not been shared publicly.

Lynette Heiden has been acting as interim director since November, splitting her week between the Charles B. Phillips Public Library in Newark and the Morris library.

“We want to thank interim director Lynette Heiden for doing an outstanding job while working full time at Newark,” Dergo said.

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