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updated: 3/30/2011 10:24 AM

Technology as the library's future

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  • Rick McCarthy

    Rick McCarthy

  • Verner Tepe

    Verner Tepe

  • Jean Bednar

    Jean Bednar

  • Herb Gross

    Herb Gross

  • Richard Wallett

    Richard Wallett

  • Mohammad Iqbal

    Mohammad Iqbal

  • Lisa Knight

    Lisa Knight


All of the Gail Borden Public Library trustee candidates agree technology deserves a place in the future of the library. But with seven candidates running for four, 4-year terms and two candidates running for one, 2-year seat, the importance of that place varies.

For Mohammad Iqbal, Verner Tepe, Victor LaPorte and incumbent board President Rick McCarthy, using technology in the library is essential.

Iqbal thinks that needs to come in the form of more licenses for e-books as well as more classes for computer literacy.

"These libraries need to be the center of knowledge for the community," Iqbal said. "Instead of Google, go to the library."

Tepe, claiming a unique position as a tech-savvy candidate based on decades of experience in the IT field, said delivering electronic materials through a separate service provider is a start, but should be done in house one day.

"We have to find a way so we can begin to deliver more materials electronically while at the same time continuing to provide more printed books," Tepe said.

LaPorte said continuing the library's direction in utilizing technology use is critical. He doesn't see books becoming outmoded, but said the library must take up a role in education about new technology and allocate staff and resources for that purpose.

"The library, as a living entity, has to change to stay alive," LaPorte said.

McCarthy said moving forward with technological innovation is necessary for the library to remain relevant to community members, but also depends on what the budget can accommodate.

"We're not doing our job if we don't keep up with everything, every kind of format that information is available in," McCarthy said.

Incumbents Jean Bednar, vice president of the board, and Herb Gross were also enthusiastic about tech possibilities, but mildly less so.

"I don't think the role of the library is going to change very much because of technology," Gross said.

Gross also advocated for the purchase of more e-readers and digitization of materials, saying increased automation saves the time of library staff.

Bednar said the library must keep up, electronically, or get left behind; she lent her support to Library Director Carole Medal in her focus on technology and all the possibilities that presents.

"Carole has her finger on the pulse of the future of libraries, which is the tech thing," Bednar said.

Incumbent Treasurer Lisa Knight was the only candidate to say she was "neutral" on the topic of technology. Knight said that is because she doesn't use items like e-readers herself. She advocated finishing the electronic check-in system before planning anything else because of the project's cost.

"I'd be happy to look at other things after that's done," Knight said.

Peggy Wegman, running against Iqbal for the 2-year term, and Richard Wallett, running for one of the 4-year seats, did not return calls for comment.