The Brookfield Public Library Board of Trustees has a new board president. At its May meeting, the library board unanimously selected Linda Kampschroeder to be president for the next two years. 

She succeeds Jennifer Perry, who has served as board president for the past four years. Perry remains on the board and has two years left on her term as a board member.

Kampschroeder, who was appointed to the library board in 2014 and then elected to a full term in 2015, downplayed the importance of the position of board president. 

“We do everything together,” Kampschroeder said. “The board functions as a whole, and so whatever goals we decide on we’ll work on it together.”

She takes over as board president a little more than six months after a referendum to issue bonds to build a new library was defeated by 494 votes. The defeat was a big disappointment to library officials.

“We nearly won that referendum,” Kampschroeder said.

This spring, library trustees went on a “listening tour” to understand why the referendum failed. Library trustees also reached out to community members.

What did they learn? Property tax fatigue was a major factor. 

Nearly eight months before the library referendum, Brookfield voters approved a hefty tax increase to fund road improvements. Last November, voters in LaGrange-Brookfield Elementary School District 102, which includes the southwest portion of Brookfield, approved a tax hike for schools. 

And this spring, voters in the northern part of Brookfield approved a tax hike to pay for expansion of S.E. Gross Middle School and Brook Park Elementary School.

“It was between the library and the school, and they chose the school,” said longtime library board member Carol Kissane.

Library board members seem to be in no rush to try again. The soonest they could put another referendum on the ballot is March 2018.

Kampschroeder said that the library board has not yet even decided whether they will attempt to pass another referendum.

“We haven’t determined whether we will or not,” Kampschroeder said. “Right now we are going to regroup and start some long-range planning and see where we go from there.” 

Kampschroeder said that she didn’t think the design of the proposed library was a problem.

“I think it’s a well thought out design,” Kampschroeder said. “But nothing is carved in stone. If we find that we need to tweak that, for whatever reason, then we can do that.”

Kampschroeder remains optimistic that a new library will be built.

“One way or another that library is going to get built,” Kampschroeder said.

Dianne Duner will remain as board vice president and Michelle Svendsen will continue as board secretary, a post she assumed in January, after board member Lisa Knasiak resigned in December. 

Adam Burghgraef replaces longtime board member Carol Kissane as the treasurer. It will be the first time in many years that Kissane, who was elected to another four-year term in April, does not hold an officer position on the board. There was no competition for any of the officer positions and all the votes were unanimous. 

Kissane said it is time for the younger people to step up.

“It’s fine, I’m not going to be on the board forever,” said Kissane, who has been on the board since 1981.