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updated: 2/22/2013 6:03 PM

Robert Mann: Candidate Profile

Geneva Library Board (4-year Terms)

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  • Robert Mann, running for Geneva Library Board (4-year Terms)

    Robert Mann, running for Geneva 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: Geneva

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Geneva Library Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 75

Family: Three children (geologist, media executive, school teacher) and five grandchildren. Life-long, third-generation resident of the Tri-City area.

Occupation: Lawyer (retired)

Education: Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Wesleyan University, 1959 Juris Doctor, University of Illinois, 1967

Civic involvement: Chairman, Geneva Economic Development Commission Co-facilitator, Geneva Learners World Affairs Director, Center for Business Education, Information and Development

Elected offices held: Board of Education, District 303 St. Charles 1970-1985

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Expansion and modernization of library services, especially to benefit currently underserved community members. Re-envision the Library as a community learning center. Utilize currently available technologies to provide services efficiently.

Key Issue 2

The current Board's plan to purchase the Centron property and then to hold a referendum to acquire funds to build a new library structure on the site is ill-advised for many reasons among which are the fact that available resources will be tied up and implementation of needed improvements will be delayed for an unacceptably long period. A new plan should be devised and implemented from among several much better alternatives.

Key Issue 3

Space utilization. The current Board has not made optimal utilzation of available space and opportunities for expansion at the present location.

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?

Public libraries are essential to maintenance of an informed democratic society. Support for library services is vulnerable to claims that the internet has rendered libraries obsolete or not cost effective. The Library must adapt to current needs by reaching out to currently underserved elements of the community and expanding programs with the aid of technology. The current Board seems not to understand the institutional risk of its preoccupation with the Centron property acquisition plan and its apparent decision to defer indefinitely any efforts to improve, expand or modernize library services.

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.

Candidate did not respond.

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

I have a card and use it five times a week or more.

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.

Our library needs more space to accommodate additional reading/study areas and computer work stations and more meeting rooms. The current collection includes many items that are accessed infrequently and that could be stored elsewhere for retrieval by request, which would free up additional space. The current library space also could be rearranged to accommodate better space utilization.

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

Significant information technology advances have rendered some traditional library services obsolete but also have opened new opportunities to address needs of community members such as: those needing additional skills to take advantage of employment opportunities, those who have retired from one occupation and seek to begin another, those seeking to join book clubs, travel clubs or special interest organizations. Library science has evolved in context with the IT revolution to provide such services and our library ought to take advantage of such advancements.