Director of libraries to leave

By Eric Thompson

A broken promise and a better job opportunity have led to the retirement of NIU’s director of university libraries.

Peggy Sullivan, interim director of university libraries since October 1990, said she plans to leave NIU in mid-July to take over as executive director of the American Library Association (ALA).

In a letter to colleagues, Sullivan said she had planned to continue in her current capacity through June 30, 1994, but those plans changed because of a broken deal with outgoing Provost Kendall Baker and ALA’s job offer.

“The agreement was for an additional salary increment if I was to continue as director of libraries,” Sullivan said. “I would have retired over concern about NIU’s commitment but the job offer from the ALA has sped things up.”

Baker said NIU put Sullivan’s salary arrangements in writing when she became acting director of libraries and again when she became director, but the arrangements were not fulfilled because of a state freeze on salary increments.

As a result, Sullivan’s salary remained at $83,400.

“We had told her that as soon as we had the opportunity to make a salary adjustment we would fulfill the obligations we had with her,” Baker said. “We’ve not been able to do anything for anybody on campus with reference to salary matters for the last two years.”

In addition, Sullivan said she delayed taking a sabbatical more than once because of the agreement, but she harbors no resentment over the broken deal.

“I think the provost was caught in a bad financial situation,” she said. “But then again, people shouldn’t make promises they can’t keep.”

Baker said he appreciates Sullivan’s service as director of university libraries, and it was “unfortunate that circumstances with the state have prevented us from meeting our salary obligations to her.”

Before serving as director of university libraries, Sullivan served nine years as NIU’s Dean of the College of Professional Studies.

“I’ve enjoyed being dean of the College of Professional Studies and director of libraries,” Sullivan said. “There is a time to come and a time to go, and this is a good time to go.”