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updated: 2/23/2011 4:01 PM

Susan Z. Diamond: Candidate Profile

Bensenville library

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  • Susan Z. Diamond, running for Bensenville library

      Susan Z. Diamond, running for Bensenville library

 

 

 

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

 

Bio

City: Bensenville

Website: http://susanzdiamond.com

Office sought: Bensenville library

Age: 61

Family: Married, no children.

Occupation: Management consultant; President of Diamond Associates, Ltd. for the past 32 years; conducts seminars on finance regularly for the American Management Assn., Deere and Company, and other organizations.

Education: B.A., English Language and Literature, University of Chicago, 1970

M.B.A., DePaul University, 1980

Listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who of American Women, and Who's Who in Finance and Industry

Civic involvement: Secretary of the White Pines Civic Association

Corporate member, Bensenville Chamber of Commerce

Volunteers at Library and Lions Club events

Secretary of The Beacon Society, an international 501(c)(3)society devoted to encouraging teachers and libraries to include Sherlock Holmes in their curriculums and activities and providing grants for this purpose.

Elected offices held: This is my first time to run for a government position. I have held elected positions in many literary societies.

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Reopening the Library on Saturdays. It was closed as a ""cost-cutting"" measure, but I believe costs can be managed or cut more effectively in other areas.(See Number 2 campaign issue.) If it is necessary to close the Library for one day, close it on a weekday when most children are in school and adults are working. Currently Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday are the only times when working adults can access the Library.

Key Issue 2

Analyzing expenditures in depth. The Library spent $45,000 on a sculpture program, and senior staff compensation appears to be at the very upper range for a library of our size. During the current fiscal year, $120,000 was budgeted for buildings and grounds maintenance excluding utilities and custodial costs, while only $116,000 was budgeted for books, periodicals, and electronic resources. The Library has extensive gardens and grounds which are lovely, but which are very costly to maintain at the current level. Partnering with other community organizations to share resources and facilities could be one way to manage some of these costs more effectively.

I'd like to do benchmarking against other community libraries of comparable size and demographics to ensure that taxpayer funds are being spent in most effective way. A related issue is that our library is the only one in the area that does not carry DVDs. I'm hearing regularly that people take their children to the Elmhurst and Wood Dale Libraries because our collections are inadequate. I know that I often wait for extended periods to receive books I request and they usually come from other libraries.

Key Issue 3

Institute term limits. Two terms of six years would be 12 years service on the Board. This ensures ""new blood"" and new ideas. We have term limits for the Presidency, and I believe they should be instituted on all levels of government.

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?

After attending numerous Library Board meetings, I became concerned about some of the decisions that were being made. We have a very beautiful building and garden with a $30,000 sculpture in front of the building and inadequate collections on the shelves. I'm now at a point in my life where I can devote time to community service, and I feel I can provide real value to this Board through my financial, library, and records management expertise. Also through the many literary groups I belong to, I have numerous friends who are public librarians around the country whom I can draw upon for feedback and input. I'd also like to establish a strong Friends of the Library organization to raise money for materials and longer hours and to provide volunteer support.

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 bring a fresh perspective to the Library and offer new ideas as discussed elsewhere. Also because of my financial and library background plus the fact that I have been attending Board meetings and requesting financial statements, Board packets, etc., I would be joining the Board as a well informed member, able to make positive contributions from the beginning. I do believe the Library is doing much that is good now, but, as I've detailed elsewhere in this document, some real opportunities are being missed. Also my extensive experience as a consultant means that I know how to work with people to negotiate positive solutions to problems.

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

Yes. For approximately two years. Every week. I also have done volunteer work at the Library. Since the Library has downsized, I would like to see volunteers used more effectively to make up for those staff reductions. Perhaps volunteers could also handle some of the garden and landscaping activities which are very costly right now.

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.

I don't think space is a real issue at this library. The physical plant doesn't need expansion. I do fully support the use of increased technology, and I think that is one area the Library is handling well through computer access and free training for residents. E-books is one area that could probably be expanded.

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

Challenging economic times mean residents depend more heavily on libraries as a source of all types of information. This is why I feel DVDs should be added to the collection. When I raised this issue at a Board meeting, one of the Board said, ""We're not Blockbuster"" which I felt ignored a much broader issue. All kinds of materials are available on DVD including much high quality programming that is not available at the video stores and is costly for individuals to purchase. Also providing DVDs would bring more people into the Library, and the first step is getting residents in the door.

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