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updated: 2/22/2013 6:03 PM

Carolyn Clifford: Candidate Profile

Barrington Area Library Board (6-year Terms) (Democrat)

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  • Carolyn Clifford, running for Barrington Area Library Board (6-year Terms)

    Carolyn Clifford, running for Barrington 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: Barrington

Website: Candidate did not respond.

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

Age: 48

Family: Married, two children

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Bachelor of Science in News-Editorial Journalism, University of Illinois 1986 Juris Doctorate, University of Illinois 1989

Civic involvement: Girl Scouts American Association of University Women

Elected offices held: Library Trustee, Barrington Public Library District, 1999 to present

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Renovation of Barrington Area Library for the 21st century

Key Issue 2

Partnership with other area local governments and organizations to share public resources

Key Issue 3

Candidate did not respond.

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 a decade of considering various options for adding branches, or expanding or rebuilding its current building, the Barrington Area Library is embarking on a renovation of its building to make the most of its current footprint and insure its viability as a 21st century library. Having served on the Board of Trustees for the library district since 1999, I am looking forward to seeing years of review and consideration of options finally come to fruition for the library's community.

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.

In the thirteen years I have served on the Board, the most important decision the Board has made was to hire Detlev Pansch as the library's executive director. With the retirement of the library's long-serving director, it was important to bring in a director who would provide good leadership and vision to our wonderful staff. Since his hire, Detlev has been instrumental in empowering the staff to be creative and take risks in providing library service in a changing and challenging enviroment for libraries in general. His vision and leadership have been the keys to the success of the library's community outreach and programming in the last few years, with such projects as "One Book, One Barrington." As trustees, our role is not to micromanage the professional staff's vision for responding to the needs of the library's community in providing the best library's services, but rather support them in their efforts. This is what I have tried to accomplish as a trustee since 1999.

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

Yes. I have had a library card since we moved to Barrington in 1993. I use my library card at least once a week.

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.

Space has been a challenge for our library district for over a decade, which is particularly significant because the Barrington Public Library District is the largest library district in Illinois coverning over 50 square miles. With two failed referendums that would have supported the expansion of the only library facility, the current Board has turned its focus to making the most of the current space we have through a renovation project to update the building for the 21st century. While difficult choices had to be made at the staff level to determine which priorities could be addressed in the renovation, I am confident that the staff has put together a thoughtful renovation plan that will meet the needs of our diverse library constituency. In preparing for this renovation, the staff has weeded the library's collection to focus on complimenting the physical materials with the electronic resources that will best meet the needs and demands of the community going forward.

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

Economic and technological changes have fundamentally changed how libraries serve their communities. In Barrington, we have been fortunate to have a forward-looking and creative staff that has been on the cutting edge of thinking outside the traditional "library as book warehouse" box to provide new and unique services that provided our community with opportunities to use our library in ways they had not even dreamed of. As a result, our library is used by our community more than ever, with increasing numbers of visitors to the building and circulation that has exceeded previous years. Unique spaces, such as the library's media lab, have been well-received by the community and provided a model for other libraries just now looking to add such spaces. Our online catalog, e-book options, and free music downloads from Freegal have provided library users of all ages new and unique ways to use the library services without even leaving their home. This has insured our library will remain relevant -- if not more important -- to our constituents for many years to come. In addition, the library's focus on providing space for community organizations and community events has cemented its place as Barrington's true "center" in a community where space to interact is at a premium.