River Forest Public Library River Forest Public Library

Our responsive and knowledgeable staff always strives to provide a high level of service and satisfaction. We are here to help you find the information you need and the services and resources you want. Need a recommendation? Can’t find something? Not sure how to download something? Ask us! That’s what we’re here for.

Click on photos to learn more about the individual.


Emily Compton


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Shannon Duffy

Operations Manager



Francisca Arnold

Marketing and PR Specialist

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The Library welcomed Emily as the new Director in January 2021. Emily earned a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Dominican University and has worked with library patrons of all ages in many different settings for 20 years. Most recently, she was the Assistant Director and Head of Adult Services at Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District. Emily’s favorite writer is Colson Whitehead, whose writing she loves for its capacity to be lyrical, profound, and funny.

Shannon Duffy joined our team as our new Operations Manager in July 2022. Shannon works closely with the Director, sharing responsibility for library administration, finances, and facilities, as well as overseeing the Materials Services Department. 

Shannon has over four years of experience in Operations and over 7 years of library experience. She has a Master of Library and Information Sciences from Dominican University. When not working, Shannon enjoys reading all types of genres, watching horror movies, and playing the guitar.

In addition to creating our tri-annual Bookplate newsletter, Fran is responsible for our in-house communications, signage, flyers, social media, eNewsletter and press releases. Fran attended the University of Virginia and earned a BA in Latin American Studies and Spanish before earning her MBA in Marketing from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining our RFPL team in 2013, Fran was Director of Marketing for a commercial real estate firm and a marketing consultant. Her favorite genre? Historical fiction.

Adult and Teen Services

Shannon Gruber

Adult and Teen Services Manager

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Brian Wolowitz

Adult and Teen Services Librarian

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Anne Kowalski

Middle School and Teen Librarian

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Dorothy Houlihan

Adult Librarian

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Claire Heilman

Adult and Teen Services Associate



Ariel Schick

Adult and Teen Services Associate



Shannon joined the Library in December, 2019. She manages the adult collections and programs, offer readers advisory, and collaborates with the Township to create special program opportunities for our senior population.  Shannon has a BS in Fashion Merchandising and her MLIS from Dominican University. She has worked in libraries for the past 10 years.

Biographies, celebrity memoirs, anything set in France, travel writing, historical fiction, literary fiction, and humor, are all genres that Shannon enjoys.

Brian Wolowitz joined us as our new Adult and Teen Services Librarian in January 2022.  Brian will be coordinating adult programming, and managing the fiction, mystery, Lucky Day, and large print collections. You will most often find Brian at the upstairs service desk. Please join us in welcoming Brian to the Library.

Brian has been working in libraries for almost 10 years. He has a BA in English from DePaul University and a Masters in Library Services from Dominican University.

An avid reader, Brian especially enjoys literary fiction that is witty and humorous. He is also a frequent moviegoer and can often be found at the city’s arthouse film venues like the Music Box and the Gene Siskel Film Center. Ask him for a movie recommendation!

Anne joined the library in December 2019 as a Youth Services Associate and became our Middle School and Teen Librarian in June of 2022. In this role, Anne serves middle school and high school students ages 10-18. This includes planning and delivering innovative programs, managing the middle school and teen collections, and providing reference, readers’ advisory, and technology assistance to library patrons of all ages. She earned an MLIS from Dominican University,  as well as a BA in English from DePaul University. Anne likes cartoons, cats, and pop music, and can be found cross stitching in her free time.

Dorothy enjoys suggesting books, audiobooks, and film titles to our patrons. She herself is a fan of mysteries, thrillers, family sagas, coming-of-age stories, and biographies of individuals who have overcome challenges. Dorothy is also a digital library guru! She is always ready to help patrons download eBooks, audiobooks, movies, music and more from our vast digital collection. Dorothy attended Cornell University before earning her Master of Library Services at the School of Information Library Science at Rutgers University.  She has been with RFPL since 2005.

Claire joined the Library in July 2022. She is currently working on her MLIS at Dominican University and holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Minnesota. Some of Claire’s favorite genres are fantasy science fiction and memoirs. When she’s not working or studying, Claire enjoys running, cooking, wheel-throwing pottery, and hanging out with her dog.

Ariel joined the Library in April  of 2022. She has a BA in Art History from the College of Wooster and a Master of Library Sciences from Dominican University. In her spare time, Ariel enjoys sewing, drawing, exploring Vegan cooking, and reading. One of her favorite genres is dystopian fiction and she recently enjoyed Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Children's Services

Melaina Maraldi

Children's Services Manager

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José Cruz

Children's Librarian (Speaks Spanish)

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LucyRose Till-Campbell

Children's Services Associate



Debbie Larsen

Children's Services Associate



Jenn Meadows

Children's Services Associate



Marissa Walentschik

Children's Services Associate



Melaina joined River Forest Public Library in March, 2022 and has nearly 10 years of library experience, most recently at Highland Park Public Library where she was a children’s librarian. She holds a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State University, as well as a BA in English from Kalamazoo College. In her role as Manager of Children’s Services, Melaina will oversee the children’s department, collections, and programming.

In her spare time, Melaina enjoys cooking, thrifting, traveling (especially to visit her daughter who is studying in Paris), hiking, and of course, reading. One of her favorite books of all time is Anne of Green Gables. She is also a huge fan of mysteries, and appreciates books for all age groups.

José joined the Library in January of 2023. He has been providing library services to children for over 10 years. Most recently, he was a Children’s Librarian at Oak Park Public Library, where he was well-known for his outstanding story times and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as his innovative programs designed to engage young audiences.  In his new role, José will be managing various Children’s print and digital collections and implementing engaging programs for our youngest audiences (from birth through 4th grade), both in the building and out in the community. You will often find José at our Children’s Services desk, where he will be providing reference and readers’ advisory services.  

LucyRose joined the Library in December of 2022. She is an exceptional artist and has a background in customer service. This is her first library job.

Debbie Larsen joined the library in August 2022 as a children’s services associate. She has a MLIS from Dominican University, and has worked with children and adults at both public and school libraries for more than 15 years. Some of Debbie’s favorite children’s authors include Mo Willems, Mac Barnett, Kate di Camillo, and Jason Reynolds; she also enjoys reading mysteries and realistic fiction. In her spare time, Debbie enjoys gardening, watching movies, and traveling with her family.

Jenn joined the Library in February of 2023.  She is currently pursuing her MLIS at Dominican University and concentrating on services for children. In her spare time, Jenn loves to be cozied up at home with her cats and a good book, or be out and about throughout Chicago enjoying live music.


Marissa joined the Library in January 2023. Marissa is a musician who teaches music to children, and also manages her own business. This is her first library job.

Materials Services

Victoria Muraiti

Materials Services Manager

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Lisa Engoren

Materials Services Assistant/Technical Services

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Abigail Atwood

Materials Services Assistant



Dee Dee Carr

Materials Services Assistant



Barbara Croom

Materials Services Assistant



Cathy Kruse

Materials Services Assistant



Albert Nastase

Materials Services Assistant


Cathy Rutman

Materials Services Assistant



Maggie Shanahan

Materials Services Assistant



Susie Young

Materials Services Assistant



Victoria is responsible for managing circulation operations on a daily basis, handling magazine and newspaper subscriptions, and overseeing the use of the meeting room. Victoria has been with RFPL since 2006, when she started as a page, and held several positions after that. Victoria has a BA in Physical Education from DePaul and loves to exercise when she has spare time. Victoria’s favorite genres are psychological thrillers and post-apocalyptic books.

Lisa wears many hats at the Library. You will often see her at the circulation desk welcoming and helping patrons. In technical services, she is responsible for processing all of our new materials. Lisa’s efforts bring you the latest and greatest in books, DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks. In addition to enjoying classic films and musicals, Lisa likes reading books that champion the human spirit. Some of her favorites include The Book Thief, The Folded Earth, and Madame Bovary. She is also “crazy in love” with Hamilton, both the music and the bestseller that is about the making of the musical.

Abigail joined the Library in January 2022. She previously worked as a curatorial intern at the Elmhurst Art Museum, as an Assistant Collections Manager at the Roselle History Manager, and as a library assistant at Forest Park.  Her favorite books are Jane Eyre and Uprooted by Naomi Novak. She loves any atmospheric book regardless of genre.

Barb has been with the library since 2011 and is responsible for returning our library materials to the shelves.  Her organizational skills help us to keep our shelves neat and tidy. Looking for a great movie recommendation? Ask Barb! She’s a movie buff.

Cathy joined the Library in April 2021. She has a B.A. in Communications from Loyola University Chicago and loves to cook, bake, bike, do yoga, and of course read. Ever since she was a young girl, she has considered the library her “happy place.” She believes libraries play a crucial role in providing access to a space that is welcoming and open to all members of the community.

Albert joined the library in January of 2023. Albert, who grew up in Eastern Europe, has a fascinating background that includes experience in theater/film, owning his own business, and working in his university library. He recently came to the area from Spain, where he lived for 10 years. Albert is passionate about libraries and is excited to be part of our community. Speaks Spanish and Romanian.

Cathy joined the Library in April 2018. She brings her love of organization to her work by keeping library materials organized and neat. After having lived in Maryland, Colorado, Germany, Massachusetts, and California, she moved to River Forest 20 years ago. She has a background in marketing. In her free time, Cathy loves to spend time with her family, travel, paint, take photographs, garden, read and see live music.

Maggie joined the Library in August 2022. One of her favorite genres is fantasy novels. In her free time, she enjoys playing games and watching video essays.

Susie has worked at the Library for over 20 years and has been part of the River Forest community since 1977. She assists patrons with obtaining library cards, checking out materials and learning more about library programs and services. Her tenure and experience greatly enrich our staff and enhance our service to the community.