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updated: 2/22/2013 6:03 PM

Robert Shiffler: Candidate Profile

Geneva Library Board (2-year Term)

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  • Robert Shiffler, running for Geneva Library Board (2-year Term)

    Robert Shiffler, running for Geneva Library Board (2-year Term)




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: Geneva

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Geneva Library Board (2-year Term)

Age: 66

Family: Married to Jane. We have a daughter, Emily

Occupation: Retired Technical Manager

Education: Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, 1968 Masters in Business Administration, Loyola University of Chicago, 1975

Civic involvement: Trustee, Geneva Public Library District, 2012 - present Director, Geneva Library Foundation, 2009 - 2012 (President 2010 - 2012) Volunteer, Morton Arboretum, 2009 to present Judge, FIRST Robotics Midwest Regional, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Elected offices held: Appointed to Trustee position to fill vacancy

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

We must continue to provide the wide range of services and resources our patrons expect and deserve while operating within the constraints of the current building and location. This is challenging because there is a strong possibility of constructing a new facility in the next 4-6 years, which limits the magnitude of physical changes that are financially viable. Recognizing the impact of the slow economy, it is also very important to exercise fiscal discipline in meeting these needs.

Key Issue 2

Complete the due diligence and close on the purchase of the Cetron property as the first steps toward planning a new facility. Next steps would include gathering requirements and preparing initial building alternatives to meet those requirements.

Key Issue 3

Expand the implementation of the latest technologies, such as e-books, in an efficient, cost-effective and easy-to-use manner (in concert with long-term availability of printed materials). Since the systems to access this electronic content are still maturing and vary widely by company and publisher, there is no one best methodology to access all material, which adds extra cost and complexity to any solution.

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 been a strong believer in the value of libraries, and I feel that participation on the Geneva Public Library District Board is a way for me to contribute my skills for the betterment of the Library.

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 have only served on the Board for one year following my appointment to fill a vacancy. During that time, I have been able to rapidly come up to speed on Library policies and issues. I have been very active on the Personnel committee, working to improve overall personnel-related procedures and policies, as well as being an active contributor in all matters coming before the Board.

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

I have been a patron of the Geneva Public Library since I first moved to Geneva 37 years ago. My wife and I both utilize library materials on a regular basis.

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.

We definitely have space issues in our current library building and location. Longer term, the preferred solution (assuming approval of a referendum by District voters) is a new facility that would eliminate the constraints of the current building and location and provide for the expanded role of libraries that patrons are requesting. This presents a short-term challenge in finding intermediate solutions that are cost effective given the probable short life span of those changes.

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

I believe that the role of libraries in the community will continue to expand. Libraries are not just book repositories. They are community centers for lifetime learning. This requires not only a strong collection of printed and electronic materials, but also state-of-the-art IT infrastructure, meeting rooms for various community groups, small and large group study rooms for students, and a wide range of programs for patrons of all ages covering a myriad of topics. If re-elected to the Board, I will work to ensure that the Geneva Public Library District can serve this expanded role in the future.