Breaking News Bar
updated: 2/22/2013 6:03 PM

Joan Brody Garkisch: Candidate Profile

Arlington Heights Library Board (6-year Terms)

Success - Article sent! close
  • Joan Brody Garkisch, running for Arlington Heights Library Board (6-year Terms)

    Joan Brody Garkisch, running for Arlington Heights 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.

Jump to:

BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Arlington Heights

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Arlington Heights Library Board (6-year Terms)

Age: 48

Family: Married, three school-aged children who attend Arlington Heights School District 25.

Occupation: Grant Writer. I have worked extensively with municipal governments, including police departments, public libraries and non-profit organizations, as a professional grant writer and criminal justice policy advisor/analyst.

Education: Master of Public Policy, Harvard Univ., John F. Kennedy School of Gov't, 1989, Master of Science in Criminal Justice Admin., Northeastern Univ., 1987, B. S. in Criminal Justice, Northeastern Univ.,1986, Summa Cum Laude and Class Valedictorian.

Civic involvement: I volunteer in public schools including Windsor Independent Novel Study (WINS) Co-Director, Jr. Great Books Leader in two grade levels, PTA, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Music for Youth, pro-bono grant writing/research services for local schools and community arts organizations. I have supported other community non-profits, including a community-based literary organization that assists teens with book-group discussions and poetry writing. I am Secretary on the Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers Board.

Elected offices held: I am Secretary of the Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers Board.

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

#1 Key Issue: The Economy: Without increasing taxes, how can our nationally recognized, five-star library continue to provide our entire community with an undiminished level of service? My Position: The Arlington Heights Memorial Library has already done more with less. A major renovation is in the process of being completed that will add value and benefit to all kinds of library users in our community. The library is on the leading edge of a national change in how customers use public libraries. This shift includes increasing technology by offering group and individual training opportunities and enhancing library teen programming, among other new library services. I support continuing to provide a five-star, undiminished level of library service while remaining mindful of the slower than anticipated economic recovery. I support ongoing tracking of revenues and expenditures as well as indentifying new needs and creative cost-saving strategies. I have extensive background and experience, having worked on numerous municipal and non-profit agency budgets, to help the library continue to operate in a budget-conscious manner while maintaining and enhancing current service levels.

Key Issue 2

#2 Key Issue: How can the Arlington Heights Memorial Library adequately reach all residents, especially on the north and south ends of Arlington Heights? My Position: Arlington Heights has a long and narrow geography. Data from circulation and information about where cardholders reside indicates that residents at the far north and far south ends of town have used the library less. It may not be as convenient for these residents to travel to the library. Some residents on the south end of town report that transportation difficulties preclude them from going to the library. As a trustee, I would advocate identifying and implementing new strategies that help residents from the entire Village get to the library. I would also propose examining other methods for reaching out to residents at the far ends of the Village for material pick-up and return. For example, the library could consider partnering with the Arlington Heights Park District and Senior Center to add drop boxes at remote locations. I also would like to research high-tech library material take-out and return vending machines and kiosks.

Key Issue 3

#3 Key Issue: Keeping Public Libraries Relevant: How can free public libraries survive? My Position: Even with bookstore closings and on-line booksellers selling more electronic than print material, I have not given up on free public libraries. Ironically, the disappearance or declining number of local town bookstores has created an opportunity for public libraries to fill the void. In the past, town bookstore clerks recommended new titles. They would host author events and children activities. Today, public libraries are filling these roles and doing so in a cost-effective manner for everyone in the community. Nowhere is this more evident than in the recently opened Market Place section of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library. Market Place visitors feel as if they are in a bookstore with staff walking around asking customers if they need help or a recommendation. Similarly, the library has also become a community technology destination. The Arlington Heights Memorial Library now provides electronic and digital media materials and related classes and individual instruction. Our Library is not only relevant, it is a five-star national library leader and as a board member I will work hard to ensure its continued success.

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?

There are many issues that have inspired me to run for Library Trustee again. I am running a second time to support and help the library continue to offer the materials, services and customer commitment that has made it one of the top libraries in the nation five years in a row. I want to ensure that the Arlington Heights Memorial Library remains a vibrant and engaging resource for the entire Arlington Heights community and continues to do so in a cost-effective manner. Although I did not win the last election, during the past two years, I have stayed involved with and active in the library. I have attended library board and committee meetings. I have remained in contact with staff and board members and participated in library programs. With an additional two years of knowledge about the library, I am now even more prepared to become a productive member of the library board. I feel lucky to live in a town with such a great library. This is what motivates me and I would be honored to serve on the Arlington Heights Memorial Library Board of Trustees and contribute my time and experience to ensuring that it continues to serve our community well.

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.

My college and graduate education in public administration and public policy and 26 years of work experience with municipal agencies and non-profits will help me contribute immediately and effectively to all board operational and administrative functions. I have contributed in a similar capacity on numerous planning teams and committees and currently serve as Secretary on the Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers Board. My experience working with public and non-profit organizations will help me contribute to working with the community, library administrators, and other trustees. I have developed and written grant proposals and budgets, including writing grants for public libraries. Finally, my commitment to the library as a citizen, neighbor and taxpayer will help me contribute insights and perspective. I am raising a family in Arlington Heights and have senior parents living here; I will strive to serve my community and represent them well on the library board; and I want to help maintain the services offered by our five-star library, and to do so in a budget-conscious manner.

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

I have had an Arlington Heights Memorial Library card for 16 years. I use my card weekly to check out library materials. I also use the library's online services. My three children, my husband and my 84 year old parents, who recently moved to Arlington Heights, also have their own library cards and take out books and attend programs regularly. Whether I am at the library with my children visiting Kid's World, accessing a database for work, or attending a program, I use the library often and in many different ways.

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.

I support the Arlington Heights Memorial Library's current facility renovation and staff realignment. Without expanding the physical plant, the library was able to reinvent itself to become an even better Arlington Heights community destination. Even the language of the library has adapted by calling userscustomers? to whom the library staff strive to provide the best possible customer service. There will always be customers who lament that some older books are no longer on-site, but since the library participates in the Interlibrary Loan program there are few items that cannot be located and sent to the library for pick up expeditiously.

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

The library is using resources more cost-effectively and efficiently and as a result of changing technology. For example, the demand for in-library reference assistance has decreased because customers are using smart phones to get information. As a result of this change and other new technology additions including self-checkout and email notifications, the library has been able to redirect costs to support other community needs. The community's needs are changing too. Libraries are evolving to become more than warehouses to store books and materials. Today, libraries like the AHML are remaining relevant through programming, keeping up with the community's demand for technology and by becoming a community destination for all. This year, the AHML has purchased more e-readers and added additional private rooms for meetings and studying. The library created a digital media center and offered on-site assistance for jobseekers, businesses start-ups and creative endeavors. There is a renewed focus on and space for teens. The library has adapted to meet our community's needs. As trustee, I would continue to move in this direction by ensuring that the Board is constantly surveying and in touch with the needs of our customers.