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updated: 2/22/2013 6:09 PM

Jonathan Passman: Candidate Profile

Vernon Area Library Board (6-year Terms) (Independent)

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  • Jonathan Passman, running for Vernon Area Library Board (6-year Terms)

    Jonathan Passman, running for Vernon Area Library Board (6-year Terms)




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: Buffalo Grove

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Vernon Area Library Board (6-year Terms)

Age: 39

Family: Married with two children

Occupation: Operations Manager

Education: Bachelor of Science in International Business, Villanova University, 1995 Master of Science in Knowledge Management, Dominican University, 2009

Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.

Elected offices held: None

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

The Vernon Area Library has positioned itself nicely for the future with the addition of digital offerings in its collection, such as e-books and MP3 offerings. As technology can change rapidly, I want to make sure that the library continues to be proactive in maximizing digital options for the community with a focus on future change. I hesitate to set a quota on the number of specific types of items the library should have by a certain year because today's MP3s may become tomorrow's cassette tapes. I just want to make sure that the library continues to keep up with the technological trends. That said, there are people like myself, who still prefer the feeling of a book in their hands, and I want to make sure that market is not forgotten.

Key Issue 2

Funding for libraries, especially in the digital age when the role of the library continues to evolve, is a concern. As a homeowner, I'm cognizant of the property tax bill that comes in the mail every year. I would like to make sure we maximize the use of funding for the library while not putting any unnecessary additional burdens on the community. It is easy for people to wonder why a library may be necessary in 2013 with so much content available on-line, and that may make it an easy target for funding to disappear. But I still believe the library still can serve a community purpose, and I want to make sure the Vernon Area Library District remains properly funded.

Key Issue 3

Many libraries have had success in adding a cafe in their building, both to bolster a feeling of community, as well as to generate additional revenue. This is something I would like us to take a look at as well, because I honestly see the local coffee shop, not necessarily as a competitor per se, but as an alternative that may be drawing people away from the library.

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 am looking for a new opportunity to give back to the community and with my graduate degree from Dominican's School of Library and Information Science, I felt that this would be a very good fit. One of the current board members was quoted in the media last year that it was disappointing that they struggled to find enough people to appear on the ballot at times, and that was all the challenge I needed to run for the board this year.

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 special contributions you could make.

As a non-incumbent and a political rookie running against three successful incumbents, I think the best contribution I can provide is a fresh set of eyes and ears. I do not come in with a set agenda or biases; my mind is open. I have a graduate degree with a library curriculum which will I think will give me a greater appreciation of the challenges faced by the library management and staff. Finally, as the father of two small children, I think I bring a perspective of that demographic that is underrepresented on the current board.

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

I do have a library card and have had it since I moved to the district in 2003. I have always had a library card somewhere, dating back to my childhood in Skokie. My use tends to be cyclical depending on travel the more time I am on the road for business or pleasure, the more I am reading (typically true crime, non-fiction). My daughter is also a library card holder and loves the kids section as well as the youth DVDs. She loves to use her own card to check out books. While my son will probably have his own card quite soon, for now, he is content to have his sister pick out books for him.

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.

The current board and library staff have done an excellent job of recent renovating the library, expanding the electrical and networking capabilities as people bring their notebooks, tablets, and e-readers with them to the library. I feel the library is well positioned for the future after this redesign. The only thing I would consider is potentially adding a small cafe to the library to bring in and retain more traffic.

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

There's no doubt that the growth of digital media and the internet have changed the library. The encyclopedias of my youth have been rendered obsolete by the internet, while e-books and MP3s are starting to replace traditional physical media. That said, the library still can be a place to meet and learn. While more of the library's collection may be downloaded in the future instead of a traditional circulation, there's still a market for community programs, lectures, activities for children and seniors, as well as experts who can share suggestions face-to-face about an up-and-coming author or a better website to use in conducting research. The role in the community has changed somewhat, but the library can still serve a purpose.