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Huntley library names Rockford librarian as new director

Published: Friday, April 4, 2014 11:20 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 4, 2014 11:57 p.m. CDT

HUNTLEY – A library executive director who oversaw two expansion projects during his past eight years at Rockford Public Library was recently selected to lead the Huntley Area Public Library.

Frank Novak will begin his new job as executive director of the Huntley library April 21. The library board selected him last week from a pool of three other finalists, library spokesperson Doug Cataldo told the Northwest Herald.

Novak replaces former director Patrick McDonald, who left Huntley in December to become chief operating officer of a private education group near Chicago. Two department heads served as interim directors during the board's four-month search.

"He was very responsible in managing multiple library systems and instrumental in completing multimillion dollar projects to build new library buildings without any referendums or property tax increases," Cataldo said.

Novak has led the Rockford Public Library since 2005 in servicing the city's 150,000-plus residents. The library system manages seven total facilities.

Novak expanded the library by creating its East Branch and helped officials acquire the Nordlof Center, a multi-use venue for Rockford's performing arts and technology community.

He also survived an overwhelming vote of no confidence by the Rockford library's 31 union workers in 2012. The Rockford library board stood by Novak, while the workers expressed unhappiness with his leadership, according to multiple Rockford media reports at the time of the vote.

Before coming to Rockford, Novak served as the executive director for the Ela Area Public Library based in Lake Zurich. Novak, who has a law degree from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, has 20-plus years of experience working in libraries, Cataldo said.

After completing his law degree, Novak graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in library science.

He will become Huntley library's fourth ever executive director when he starts the top librarian spot later this month.

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