The Riverside-Brookfield Landmark sent questionnaires to each person running for public office in 2023. The Landmark’s questions are in bold and the candidate’s responses are below.

Name: Jennifer Paliatka

Age: 49 

Previous Political Experience: None

Previous/Current Community Involvement: parent of District 95 student

Occupation: Academic librarian

Education: Master’s of Library and Information Science, Dominican University

1. Brookfield Public Library staff and patrons have now settled into a new building, providing space and the opportunity to provide more programming and services. What do you believe the library board must do in the coming four years to maximize the institution’s potential?

The library board must continue to respond to the needs of the community. The resident survey that began the strategic planning process in October is a great way to get feedback from the community. Continuing to seek input from residents in listening session and then building short and long term goals for the library is an excellent way to move forward. Additionally, the library board must continue to identify and safeguard revenue streams, including grants and donors, for the library.

2. What do you believe is the role of a library in the 21st century? What kind of programming and services should a library offer; what should it not offer? Is the library meeting its mission now? Why or why not?

When I started as an academic librarian 22 years ago, libraries and their patrons looked very different from the way they do now.  We are more reliant on the internet, mobile devices, and e-content. However, not everyone can afford all of these technologies or have the knowledge to navigate content. Libraries are places where people can have equal access to these things. In 2023, we are more likely to work from home, participate in the gig economy, or be online content creators. Libraries can offer spaces, equipment, and programming on these newer trends. And yes, in assisting the public with these things, and providing so much more through programming, the library does fulfill its mission “create a cultural, educational, and informational center for the community by providing readily accessible and organized materials, programs, and services…”

3. In the past couple of years, throughout the nation and even locally, there have been attempts to censor library materials. As a library trustee, how would you suggest staff approach requests to remove materials? Do you believe the library’s collection serves and reflects Brookfield? How can it improve?

As a library board member, my role, in part, is to advocate for the library and set policies for the operation of the library.  Currently, there are policies in place that the library and board of trustees follow when an item is challenged for removal from the library.  The process is fair and gives the resident an opportunity to express their concerns about an item(s). One of the things I love about Brookfield is the diversity that I see in the village’s residents. We can see ourselves reflected in the schools, the businesses, the residents, and, yes, in the collection at the library. I have witnessed firsthand in the library’s willingness to purchase materials that enrich my life and my daughter’s life.

4. What other issues are important to you as a library board candidate? How would you advocate for them as a board member?

As a trustee, I would like ensure a healthy library budget for any planning or programs that the library would like implement down the road.  I know the library just built a beautiful new facility. But, as our diverse populations within the village shift, so must the library. I am interested in serving the Spanish-speaking/bilingual population in our town. I would like to ensure that the many residents who live in apartment buildings in town know they have library access and encourage them to use the resources offered through the library.  Finally, I hope to put my many years of experience as a librarian and a resident of Brookfield together to serve my hometown.