Gail Borden library board candidates talk issues
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The four candidates running in April for seats on the Gail Borden Public Library board shared their views on technology, financial planning and more in a recent endorsement interview with the Daily Herald.
Incumbents Susan Moylan and Randy Hopp, along with challengers Elizabeth Kruger and Patricia Harkin, are vying for three open seats.
Hopp and Moylan were elected in 2009. All live in Elgin.
Although the library is doing well financially, it's important to work on setting up a capital replacement fund that can address future financial needs, said Moylan, 71, a retired college administrator and former Elgin City Council member.
Last month, the board heard a presentation on investment by financial adviser Steve Larson of Ehlers.
But Hopp, 62, a retired engineer, was skeptical.
The board needs to look closely at the interest rate on public funds, and any commission paid to financial advisers, he said.
Harkin, 69, a retired associate dean and professor of English and communication studies, said the library could make even greater use of its pool of volunteers, with an increased focus on fundraising and grant applications.
The library is doing a wonderful job, and there isn't much need for change, said Kruger, 49, a professor of project management for DeVry University.
"They are very well-received; they get a lot of visitors," she said. "Everybody in the community loves coming in, and they are always full of people."
All the candidates agreed that the library must continue focusing on technology and e-books.
The library has some e-readers available for patrons to check out and will be using a recent donation to install a digital media lab in the library's teen area, Moylan said.
"We're on a learning curve," she said.
"I do think electronic is not just the future but the present, although books are not entirely obsolete either," he said.
The library could look for free titles available in the public domain to supplement its collection, he said.
Older patrons can't be forgotten, Kruger said.
"The older community really needs to understand technology better, let alone children who need to learn it as brand-new," she said. "There has to be the support for everyone to be able to use it."
Harkin said she wants the library to explore partnerships with other taxing bodies, such as schools and universities. For example, the library could offer online courses open to the public, she said.
All candidates agreed the library does a great job of celebrating culturally significant events like Three Kings' Day and Black History Month.
"They are really good about public programming," Kruger said.
Hopp has been banned from the library — except for board meetings — for more than three years after staff complained of harassing behavior.
He also faces felony charges of attacking his elderly parents. He is next due in court March 20.
Hopp said not being able to frequent the library as a patron somewhat affects his job as a board member.
"It's going to impede my ability to look at what's happening and speak up about it," he said.
"It's not going to impede being the lone voice that speaks up for the best interest of people."
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