Three of the four candidates for Bartlett Public Library District board spoke at a candidates forum hosted by the Bartlett Woman's Club Thursday night.
About 200 people attended the forum at the Bartlett Community Center, which also showcased candidates for Bartlett village president, Bartlett village trustee, the Bartlett Fire Protection District, the Bartlett Park District, Elgin Community College and Elgin Area U-46.
The library board candidates are vying for three open seats with 6-year terms.
Dave Barry, a 63-year-old attorney, said he has served on boards before. He believes the premise of the library board is to provide oversight to the professional librarians and make sure the library continues in the future.
“I want to make sure the library remains an essential place in our community, whether individuals are using it for printed material, which I do, or for digital information,” he said. “Libraries are set up to disseminate information and for entertainment.”
Barry said he is running for the board because of his lifelong interest in books and libraries.
“I love books. I had my first library card when I was 5,” he said. “I had access to the world. That's what I want to make sure children today have — that same access, that same feeling of wonder I had when I was 5 years old.”
Ed Novak, a 57-year-old retail manager, said he has used the local library many times throughout his life and believes the library plays a role in bringing the community together.
“As a trustee I will work to give Bartlett a library that is not only cost efficient but a library that promotes reading, learning and being a place you can research a topic,” he said.
Novak said he wants the library to continue its many programs, such as book clubs and computer classes, but he would keep a close eye on rising costs associated those programs.
“With my business experience I know we can make the proper decisions that will limit raising the tax bills to the residents in these tough economic times,” he said. “If we have to delay a purchase or engage in sharing resources, to save money, then that is what I will stand for.”
Thomas Perkins, a 64-year-old retired history and government teacher, has served on the board since 2000. He said during that time he helped with renovation plans, supported staff initiatives and was part of the decision-making process to pay off building bonds early.
Perkins said the library district is in good financial shape and he wants it to stay that way.
“The library has changed as the community has changed,” he said. “We believe that while keeping our fiscal responsibilities in mind we want to keep desired programs as well as adding new programs, collections and services that are relevant to the needs of the Bartlett Public Library District community.”
He, like the other candidates, said the library needs to maintain its relevance with the expanding needs of the community.
“All of our people want to have a place to go where they can do the things they like to do,” he said. “Electronic is big, but not everybody does electronic and so we need to provide for all of our patrons.”
Francine Byron, a 49-year-old legal assistant, did not speak at the event.
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