The Forest Park Review sent questionnaires to each person running for public office in 2023. The Review’s questions are in bold and the candidate’s responses are below.
Name: Kenneth Circo
Previous Political Experience: Riverside Public Library Board, 2015 – present
Previous/Current Community Involvement: Riverside small business owner, 18 years
Education: Bachelor of Architecture, Ball State University; Bachelor of Science, Environmental Design, Ball State University
1. Why are you running for the Riverside Public Library board?
I am running for Riverside Public Library Board to continue my involvement with the Library, and to continue my commitment to serve the community of Riverside. I have had the pleasure of being a Library Board member since 2015. I served as VP from 2017 until 2020, when I accepted my current position of Library Board President.
2. What experience and perspectives would you bring to the position and how would they be valuable as an elected official?
During my tenure as a Library Board member, and as Building Committee Chairman, I have been involved in many projects to grow and enhance the unique architectural atmosphere of the library and helped usher the library into the 21st century. I was active with the design phases of the Lower Level renovation, and contributed my leadership, with the Board, as we campaigned for a successful $1.5M bond referendum to see the renovation come to fruition. In 2017, I oversaw the installation of a much-needed new $375k HVAC system. Ongoing projects for the 93-year-old landmarked facility have also included new elevator installation, bathroom renovations, roof and masonry repairs, and addressing of accessibility issues. I am pleased to have contributed my time, knowledge and experience for these projects.
3. What do you believe are some of the greatest challenges facing the library?
The library’s mission has always been to promote lifelong learning and discovery to all patrons through diverse resources, enrichment opportunities and cooperative partnerships. With the cooperation of library staff and management, the Library Board makes every effort to be conscious of evolving challenges facing libraries today. We are facing these challenges head-on by providing amenities that are now typically expected in other libraries. With STEAM and STEM education becoming more prevalent, we are providing new opportunities for experimentation and learning. Libraries are no longer “book depositories” with shelves and shelves of books, but rather, creative spaces with cutting edge technology, like our Glowforge machine, or 3D printers. We are constantly adding to our “Library of Things” collection, which now include sewing machines, media projectors, home energy kits, laptops, hotspots, musical instruments, digital cameras, and a metal detector among other items.
As a Library Board we can’t predict the future, but we can do our best to implement changes that encourage better library use for all our patrons.