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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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Office sought: Geneva Library Board (4-year Terms)
Family: I am married to Nanette Andersson (a licensed architect and member of Geneva's Historic Preservation Commission) and have two children who grew up in the Geneva School System and are presently in college; Matthew and Sarah.
Education: Bachelor of Arts, NIU 1986 Juris Doctorate, Magna Cum Laude, NIU Law School 1992
Civic involvement: Member and Treasurer of the Geneva Public Library District for the last four years. Liaison to the Library Interconnected Network (LINC) for Geneva, Member of the City of Geneva Advisory Committee relating to the Anniversary of SPAC, Member of the City of Geneva Smoking Ban Task Force, Member of the City of Geneva Water Rate Review Committee, Past President of the Kane County Bar Association, Board Member of the Kane County Bar Foundation, Member of the Board of the Aurora Family Counseling Service and Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Chairman of the Greater Aurora Chamber of Commerce School/ Business Partnership Program.
Elected offices held: Trustee and Treasurer of the Geneva Public Library (2009 to 2013 -- Treasurer 2011 to 2013); Republican Precinct Committeeman for Geneva Precinct 3 (2008 to present); Member of General Assembly for the Illinois State Bar Association (2009 to present.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
All libraries face a critical challenge in the access to library books as more and more information comes out in electronic formats. Surprisingly, publishers are either limiting, or outright refusing, to allow libraries access to their publications. As citizens increasingly look to libraries for electronic materials, if publishers refuse to sell to libraries, the public libraries viability will be seriously challenged. We need to address this issue head on.
Key Issue 2
Related to the first issue, we, as a community, need to continue to evaluate our library's space. Some community members wish to move the library, others wish to stay in its current downtown historic building. I believe this will continue to be an important dialogue for the board and the community in the next four years (and the changes in electronic media will affect this discussion significantly).
Key Issue 3
I am the Treasurer of the Library. We have maintained a balanced budget for many years. I believe we need to balance the need to fulfill our mission and to retain competent professionals, with the tax burden on our residents. I will continue to advocate for lean and transparent budgets.
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 am running for re-election for several reasons, but two issues are most significant. One: I have been blessed with many benefits in my life, one of which is the opportunity to live in the wonderful community of Geneva. As such, I wish to repay that benefit through this service. Libraries have, in my opinion always been a key element to our nations liberty and democracy. By serving, I want to insure the library's continued viability and relevance in our community. TWO: I offer my experience in governing and finance. Throughout my entire legal career, I have advised local governments on issues relating to good government. I have seen many good and bad decisions and the consequences of those decisions. I bring that diverse knowledge and experience to this Board. In several capacities I have been responsible for the finances of several organizations similar to the Library Board, as such, I also have brought that experience to the Treasurer's position.
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.
Just before I assumed the Treasurer's position, I advocated for a change in the way our budget was created each year. The changes I initiated challenged assumptions and required that budgets be based on actual experience, rather than estimates. I also restructured the budget to provide simplicity and clarity in its reports. I also strongly advocated against the purchase of the Cetron site for a new library location. I feel that our current location is superior and creative minds can find a way to stay in our location (thus avoiding a tax referendum to build a new building). Moreover, as I mentioned as my first and second campaign issues above, electronic media is changing library services. It is, in my opinion, not wise to make drastic changes (and expend significant dollars) on a new location when we are in a "sea change" in the nature of libraries. Although my position on this issue did not prevail with the Library Board, I do feel by raising the issues and encouraging public input (we had our largest public meeting ever on this issue!), I served the community.
Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
Yes, I have a library card and I use it a few times a month.
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.
This is one of our top challenges. I believe that by converting more of our reference collection into an electronic collection, we will create more space for the books that people still generally want to read in book format. Moreover, most reference material, by the time it is printed, is out of date. As such, it is a better service to our patrons to make these materials electronic. Also we can explore different systems for shelving and retrieval of books to conserve space. I would stay where we are.
What impact have economic and technological changes had on libraries? How does a library remain relevant? How should its role in the community change?
During the economic collapse beginning in 2008, we saw a marked increase in the use of the library for job seeking, resume building and related tasks. We saw how important our resources were during that time. Technology does not change the relevance of libraries it just alters how information is delivered. Our librarians are knowledge engineers who possess the skill of "weeding out" all of the non-relevant information that the internet provides. They help get patrons to what they need quickly and efficiently. So even as resources go electronic, these skills of the librarian will always be relevant and in demand.