Brian Schwarz: Candidate Profile
Algonquin Area 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.
City: Lake In The Hills
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Algonquin Area library
Family: Married, three children (ages 13-16).
Occupation: President of a medical software company.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, Iowa State University, 1988
MBA, Kellogg - Northwestern University (1999)
Civic involvement: Currently a Trustee for the Algonquin Public Library District. Have functioned as the Treasurer on the library board for the past six years.
Elected offices held: Trustee/Treasurer - Algonquin Public Library District (2005-2011)
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
Manage the transition to a new Administrative Librarian. In 2010, the Library Board hired a new Administrative Librarian to replace our previous one who was retiring. While we hired a great new person, she started in December and I believe that consistency on the Board will provide a smoother transition period.
Key Issue 2
Work with the library staff to transition to the next phase of library services. Libraries are providing extended information sources over the Internet - they become libraries without walls. My technology background provides the Board with additional insight to help the library make the most forward-thinking but cost effective decisions on implementing new technology.
Key Issue 3
Continue to provide excellent patron service while minimizing costs. The library has received excellent marks from the public and provides good services for the public's tax dollars - we need to continue to do this.
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'm running for re-election because I've thoroughly enjoyed my existing role on the Library Board and would love to continue to serve the community. I feel I've been very effective in my role as the Treasurer. I'm an extensive user of library services, as are my wife and kids.
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.
I would call out two major contributions - the refinancing of the library bonds and the hiring of a new Administrative Librarian. Our library has an excellent credit rating, and when the financial crisis of the last few years hit, we found that refinancing our existing bonds could save nearly $500,000 over the 10 years remaining on our bonds. This is similar to refinancing your mortgage, and I worked directly with the Administrative Librarian on completing the bond re-sale process.
Additionally, when our previous Administrative Librarian announced his retirement, I worked with the entire board and library staff in a coordinated effort to hire a new Administrative Librarian. Our experience has been that the new person hired for this role has been highly effective and we expect the transition to go smoothly.
Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
Yes - I've had my card for 15 years and use it weekly.
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.
While there is land to physically expand the size of the library, attempting to pass a bond resolution in our current financial climate is NOT an option I would consider. The best way to expand services to the public is through better use of the existing space we have, and through expansion of technology to make library services available through the Internet to patrons in their homes at any hour.
What impact have economic and technological changes had on libraries? How does a library remain relevant? How should its role in the community change?
Libraries still remain relevant - the best attended program the library has is the study night before D300 Finals. The important thing (and the challenge to the AAPLD) is to embrace technology change, realize the constrained economic environment we're in, and act as a leader with regard to using library services outside the physical walls of what is traditionally considered the library.
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