Two new members named to Park Ridge Library Board

Pioneer Press

Jul 21, 2021 7:05 PM

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The Park Ridge Public Library, 20 S. Prospect Ave.

The Park Ridge Public Library, 20 S. Prospect Ave. (Jennifer Johnson / Pioneer Press)

A recent candidate for Park Ridge elected office and a financial auditor are the newest members of the Park Ridge Public Library Board.

The City Council on July 19 approved the appointments of Danielle Powers and Gregg Rusk to three-year terms on the library board. The council also approved the reappointment of Trustee Lauren Rapisand to a second three-year term.

Stepping down from the board are Trustees Stevan Dobrilovic and Michael Reardon, both of whom were appointed in 2015 and served two terms. Neither trustee applied for a third term on the board.

Powers, Rusk and Rapisand were among nine residents who applied to serve on the library board and were interviewed by the Mayor’s Advisory Board. The board consists of four aldermen who are tasked with recommending candidates for appointments to city boards and commissions.

Powers, an attorney, ran for Park Ridge city clerk in April, but was defeated by former Park Ridge alderman Sal Raspanti. Powers previously worked for the Illinois Department of Public Health and served on the parent-teacher organization boards of Washington School and Lincoln Middle School.

Rusk is a partner with an international accounting and advisory firm and a volunteer at St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church, where he serves on the church’s finance committee and as an usher.

In her application for the library board, Powers wrote that the library’s focus should be on reestablishing in-person programs and meeting in-person needs following months of virtual programming due to the pandemic.

“Reengaging the public” and “developing fresh programming” are the top issues for the library, Powers wrote.

Rusk wrote that the board’s focus should be on “continuing the financial health of the organization” and continuing its “success…in a digital age.”

Rapisand was appointed to the library board in 2018 and most recently served as its president while the library navigated the pandemic and a search for a new executive director took place.

In her application for reappointment, Rapisand wrote that the top issues for the board are “getting library operations back to pre-pandemic” and “implementing the approved strategic plan” for the library. The latter will include addressing the services and operations that “best serve our resident needs, including what may need to change,” she wrote.

Other candidates who applied for one of the three open seats on the library board were Nicholas Duric, an attorney; Susan Kavathas-Annes, a registered nurse and healthcare administrator; Joseph King, a retired corporate manager; Michelle LaGrotta, an attorney; Prat Parekh, a retired business owner; and Sarah Youngkin, a clinical researcher.

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