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updated: 2/23/2011 4:02 PM

Pat Johnson Lord: Candidate Profile

Geneva library

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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Geneva

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Geneva library

Age: 56

Family: Married, three children

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Bachelor of Arts in English from Illinois Wesleyan (1977)

Juris Doctorate from University of San Diego (1980)

Civic involvement: Geneva Library Foundation, May of 2010 to present (Secretary); Fox Valley Literacy volunteer 2006-2007; Geneva Mother's Club (late 90s)

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Pursuing the direction the current Library Board has taken to finalize acquisition of a future library site. Although a referendum to build a new library will have to wait for better economic times, locking in land in the downtown area now is the smart thing to do.

Key Issue 2

Library accessibility. I would like to explore the possibility of the library staying open until 5 p.m. on Sundays (instead of 4 p.m.) so long as we can find a way to fund the extra hour, or by shifting an hour from another day of the week if library usage statistics show that the shift would make sense. I would also like to explore the idea of a remote book drop off site for Geneva Library District residents who live on the west side of town.

Key Issue 3

Candidate did not respond.

Questions & Answers

Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?

I love libraries in general, and our library in Geneva in particular. I'd like to be part of ensuring its continued success and development. That includes finalizing the acquisition of a future library site. It also includes preparing for a new library building that is a warm and inviting place to read, study, and gather, as well as being a facility that is efficient and maximizes the Library staff's effectiveness in doing the jobs we ask of them.

If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of important initiatives you've led. If you are a non-incumbent, tell us what contributions you would make.

Planning for the future library site and future library facility; continuing the current Board and Library staff's creative attempts to function in space that is too limited; taking steps to improve accessibility to the Library for its patrons.

Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?

Yes. 28 years. About three or four times a month.

Space is usually an issue at libraries. If that's the case at your library, would your solution be to expand the physical plant or make room by doing away with parts of the collection that technology has made less critical? Explain.

Although we have a beautiful library in Geneva, it is too small to provide sufficient space for materials, staff, meeting rooms, and program facilities we should be able to offer our patrons. Significant efforts have already been made and acted upon to creatively maximize the space we have. We need to continue to actively explore new ways to maximize the use of our current facility that are realistic and cost effective. Partnering with other public bodies that serve Geneva to share facilities is also a possibility that should be evaluated on an ongoing basis.

There is no simple response as to which library materials will be able be eliminated because of electronic access, especially since access through technology continues to evolve. We will always need to be evaluating means of providing useful electronic/technological alternatives to physical library materials in order to preserve or create space. It will likely be an ongoing struggle to determine what components of the Library should be allocated the space that's available.

If we are able to build a larger library facility in the future, we will be able to provide much needed space for parking, study rooms, meeting rooms, adult and children programming, as well as computers, books, and other library materials and resources. We will also be able to design for greater efficiencies in terms of how library staff is utilized.

What impact have economic and technological changes had on libraries? How does a library remain relevant? How should its role in the community change?

I believe the most significant impact technology has made on libraries pertains to research. While it used to be necessary to go to a library to do work for a school paper, or for anyone to perform research of any kind, now many people can do a great deal of that research from computers in their homes at any time of the day or night. That being said, libraries will always be a valuable resource for reference books and other books and materials that are not available or universally accessible online, as well as providing public computers for online research.

Technology cannot replace the essential functions of a library: providing physical access to a wide array of books, newspapers, magazines, DVDs,and audio books;offering a comfortable place to work, study, or relax with a good book; meeting rooms for study groups and tutoring; programs for children and adults that create and nurture a love of reading; access to computers and the internet for those for those who may not otherwise have it, and trained librarians available to provide personal assistance.

Although there are services and functions that libraries provide that technology cannot, the effective use of technology is critical to the success and survival of libraries now and in the future. The Geneva Library already takes advantage of many electronic resources, including e-mail notices and e-mail library publications, as well as an impressive website. We need to remain open minded and alert for ways we can leverage technological resources to reduce the amount of physical space occupied by library materials, and provide our patrons with more and more ways to utilize library resources electronically on or off site. Expansion of electronic resources, such as e-reading materials, should be a priority.

The impact that our current economic condition has on our library is similar to that which every public body is facing. We will need to be as prudent as possible with tax payer dollars. We will also need wait for economic conditions to improve before a referendum to build a new library can be viable.