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updated: 2/22/2013 6:05 PM

Mary Christel: Candidate Profile

Indian Trails Library Board (4-year Terms)

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  • Mary Christel, running for Indian Trails Library Board (4-year Terms)

    Mary Christel, running for Indian Trails Library Board (4-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: Wheeling

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Indian Trails Library Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 55

Family: Candidate did not respond.

Occupation: Teacher Adlai E. Stevenson H. S. 1979-2012

Education: B.S.S. Northwestern University MA Columbia College

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

Maintaining the best services we now offer now while expanding technology and onsite programs based on emerging trends and member needs without burdening the taxpayers, who always should feel they are getting "the most bang for their buck" from Indian Trails Library

Key Issue 2

Developing partnerships with the village boards, park districts, schools, and senior center to expand our presence in the community and to expand services that don't necessarily require a trip to the main library on Schoenbeck Road

Key Issue 3

Identifying undeserved segments of the library community and working with that population to develop collections, services, and programs to make the library an integral part of their lives for personal and civic development

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 have always felt that civic involvement should be a part of every citizen's experience and it has been missing in my life prior to serving as a library trustee. The notion of what it means to be literate in the 21st century is of the greatest importance to me. Challenges in this area are not confined to the school-aged. Many adults in our community require assistance in developing or refining both traditional and digital literacies. The challenge to serve such adults must address how they can feel stigmatized by their literacy deficits and resist seeking help.

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.

I became a trustee in spring 2011 to fill a vacancy. My task since then has been to "watch and learn." In the past year and a half, I have been involved in hiring a new director and participating in the formulation a strategic plan that is now in the implementation phase. The opening of the "new and improved" Prospect Heights branch occurred during my abbreviated term, and it is the most important development in library service and presence in the community for me in 2012.

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

Yes, I have a library card. As a trustee, I don't use it often enough. As a former educator, I have been accustomed to building a personal library and putting books I have read into the hands of students rather than taking advantage of the public library's collections. I also have a bad habit of annotating my books, and the library staff wouldn't appreciate that showing up in the books that I return!

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.

There needs to be a balance of maintaining print resources that are prudently weeded on a regular basis. It is a fallacy to assume that everyone in the community has ongoing access to technology at home or that the library can fill the needs of members who require take home equipment. With that said, use of library space needs to be reassessed carefully before any commitments to expanding the physical plant can and should be made.

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 are no longer just repositories for books, magazines, newspapers, and other print materials that members retrieve and carry out the door. Libraries have become lively town centers of activity inviting members to engage in an array of programs that include cultural enrichment, civic engagement, academic improvement, holiday traditions, and the pleasure of face to face, interpersonal interaction. It is incumbent upon trustees, the director, and staff to maximize library revenues to provide programs, services, and materials for regular active members and to attract new active members, young and old.