Below are candidate-submitted answers to a survey Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Office sought: Brookfield Public Library Trustee
Previous political experience: none
Previous community involvement: Brookfield Public Library Facility Advisory Committee
Education: Masters of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University, BA from Columbia College
Occupation: Associate Chief Librarian at Pritzker Military Museum & Library
Why do you want to be a library board member?
Libraries are the cornerstone of the modern community. I have been an active user of the Brookfield Public Library since the day we moved into our Brookfield home in 2013. As a professional librarian I believe I have skills and knowledge to offer, and this is an ideal way to give back to the community.
Have you attended library board meetings in the past year? What was the board discussing that was of interest to you?
I have attended many meetings over the past couple years. Most recently, seeing the annual reporting with comparison to years past was very interesting. There has been a huge growth in use and attendance during the past ten to 15 years, which tells me the director, Kimberly Coughran, and library trustees have been exemplary advocates and caretakers of the institution. I would be proud to be a part of that tradition.
What is the most important issue facing the next library board, and what should the solution be?
In the current space, the staff members are practically working on top of each other, and there is inadequate storage for technology and equipment. There are often so many people using the library they are sitting cheek-by-jowl, and the story time classes are so packed the little ones have no room to move around the way two-year-olds are inclined to. In fact, classes of all kinds are turning away participants.
It is wonderful to be a part of a community that uses and values their public library. But it is obvious that we also need to provide an environment that is more spacious and conducive for community engagement. The anticipated new library building will surely expand the reach and impact of the library.
If elected, what changes, if any, would you like to have accomplished by the end of your term?
I hope to see the new library building come to fruition. I would be honored to be a part of steering the organization through what will be a challenging and rewarding process. Through my experience working at a private non-profit library, being on the planning committee for Rape Victim Advocates’ annual fundraiser for three years, and my previous career in theatre, I have 13 years of ground-level experience in event planning and fundraising. Putting all that experience behind the Brookfield Public Library Improvement Plan would be an honor and delight.
If elected, what changes would you most strongly resist?
As a professional librarian I would certainly resist any attempts to censor any type of library materials in any way.
What other issues facing the library are of interest to you? Why?
In an era of both hardship and expanding technological advancement, the library can help bridge the gap between what we have and what we need; not only what we need, but what we dream. Brookfield Public Library’s vision statement, “Inform, Inspire, Innovate” encapsulates the need for libraries to provide the access to knowledge that has traditionally been their role, but also to provide modern tools for community members to reach beyond what they previously thought possible. Digital conversion, 3D printing, and technology lending programs providing eReaders, laptops, and wi-fi hotspots go beyond anything a librarian could imagine 100 years ago. Informing library users about these technologies puts our community on the forefront, and inspires the next generation of innovators.