Pat Graceffa: Candidate Profile
Sugar Grove Pubic Library Board (6-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.
City: Sugar Grove
Office sought: Sugar Grove Library Board (6-year Term)
Family: Married to Daniel Graceffa – 35 years.
Occupation: Candidate did not respond.
Education: Associate of Arts Degree/Liberal arts - College of DuPage -2001
Civic involvement: Sugar Grove Library friend – 12 years
Sugar Grove farmers market – 9 years
Sugar Grove corn boil – 9 years
Community newsletter – 4 years
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Since before the new library was built, I have consistently and publicly asked for an update to the "long range plan" for the Sugar Grove public library. Since that first request over three years ago, the public still has not seen an update despite being told by the library board we are going in a new direction. We are still using a plan that was developed years ago before we built this beautiful new library. You can be sure, I will ask to see any progress made on this plan and I will request that the plan be made available to the public. our new library needs an up-to-date "planned" direction.
Key Issue 2
I hope to help find board members who are invested in serving on this library board and who bring skills to the library which our library desperately needs. We started that process in motion in the last election by electing two board members who have stream lined the financials and have cleaned up "the open meetings act" process. We now need to continue this cleanup and I think in this election we will just about complete this task so we can show tax payers we are giving them the best collection, library hours, programs and services available in exchange for their hard earned tax dollars.
Key Issue 3
Putting "YOU" back in "Your" Community Library! For years I have asked that the Sugar Grove library board to do some sort of community focus group study but I was consistently told by a particular board member 'no'! When I pressed for an answer as to why we could not do this, no explanation or comment was forthcoming. When the public goes to a public meeting and asks questions like this question, they deserve an answer and an explanation even if the explanation is not one with which they agree; at least the public could understand why the objection exists. I will always answer public questions honestly and to the best of my ability even when they are tough.
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 been a lifelong user and supporter of the public library system. I want our community library to be the very best it can be for our library district patrons. The library invites the young and old, rich and poor, readers and non-readers to use our library and its materials. To me the library symbolizes the freedom we have in this country to form ideas, learn different points of view, speak our mind, and to read whatever it is we want to read with no explanation ever required. I want a strong library in our district forever and for everyone to use or not use.
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.
All I have to bring to this board is my perspective from the point of view of twelve years as a Sugar Grove Library Friend and library volunteer. Everything I have learned about our library, I have learned from the 100's of people who use our library - our patrons. I want to keep talking to the library users to understand what their needs are and how we can make the library work the best for them all.
I have spoken to parents, home school moms, teachers and literacy volunteers, who struggle to identify the reading materials which will capture the interest of their children/students but still meet the reading challenges they may face. During this recession, I have talked to countless people who use the library computers and our free Internet to search for jobs, speakers and materials to help them with writing cover letters, resumes, and the interview process. I've spoken with artists and musicians, who visit our Library for inspiration. They understand that the Library is a place to showcase community art, culture and talent. I talk to seniors like myself, for whom the Library is both an educational facility and a community center where they can meet with their friends and neighbors and attend programs to help them save on their energy bills or help them with their tax preparation. I've spoken to people who depend on the Library to find books, magazines and newspapers in their native language. I've spoken to kids about Mickey Mouse, Harry Potter and vampires.
I want to make sure our library always has whatever it is that our patrons need to make their visit a success every time they walk in our front door.
Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
Yes. For 12 years at the Sugar Grove library (since I was 8 years old, I have always had a library card in the community I was living in at the time.)
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 is not the problem at our beautiful new library. What we need to do is get the word out to the 15,000 plus residents in our district that things are changing for the better at "your" community library and we want "you" to be a part of that terrific change.
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 never want to hear that the "library is obsolete" because that has to be the silliest remark I have ever heard. It can only be made by people who have not been in their community library for a long time and I would ask that they not embarrass themselves by repeating that statement to anyone.
Just about everyone knows how to find information on the Internet but a librarian can not only show you how to find even better information than you could find but will also show you how to find it faster and in addition show you the accuracy or inaccuracy of the information you are searching out.
In this recession please ask our patrons who cannot afford books for their children, or afford access to a computer and the Internet for their own job search How much they depend on their library. Ask the family who uses DVD's for a family movie night at home because finances may be tight and they can't afford movie theater admission if their community library does not have a direct impact on their family's life.
I think our community library is as relevant to our community as our churches, our schools, and even our food pantry is to our area in this tough economic climate. Even those not struggling, love to save a dollar. So i say to them, "save those dollars and get your books, DVD's, music downloads, periodicals, etc. at your local library and help your family and your neighbors by using those excess dollars to fund your local library."
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