Mary Kay McNeill: Candidate Profile

Antioch Library Board

Updated 3/19/2015 8:21 PM

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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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City: Antioch

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought:

Antioch Library Board

Age: 60

Family: I'm married and have two daughtets. My oldest daughter, Rebecca, is married to her husband, Jake, and they have one son, Michael. My youngest daughter graduated from Loyola in May and is a teacher at Millburn School.

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Occupation: Retired School Principal

Education: B.S. in Elementary & Special Education M.S. in Reading CAS (Certificate of Advanced Study) in Educational Administration

Civic involvement: *Member of the Antioch Woman's Club and serving as the Educational Co-Chair *Member of the Antioch District #34 School Board *Currently on the Antioch Library Board

Elected offices held: Antioch CC District 34 School Board Member Antioch Public Library Board Member

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?

I am running for office because I believe libraries are an integral part of communities that allow free public access to print and non-print materials, including games, movies, and digital resources. I have been on the board for approximately 17 years and would like to continue working toward these goals and providing the best customer service possible. During that time, we have successfully passed a referendum to add onto our building, added technology to enhance customer accessibility, and worked on improving patron satisfaction. Library staff also encourages reading among all age groups and provides programs for a variety of interests. The library is an information hub and allows citizens to learn more on topics they are interested in while in a relaxed, comfortable environment.

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 contributions you would make.

One improvement that is important to me is quality patron service; our current board members have been commited to ensuring our library is an inviting place for all of the differing needs of patrons walking through the doors from young children checking out picture books with a parent to students researching information for a paper to seniors wanting to read the paper. We have provided staff development opportunities for employees to improve our customer relationships. We are known as a warm, welcoming library whose staff goes out of their way to respond to patrons' needs. As well, we survey to find out what we are doing well and what we can do better. Monthly we receive patron comments, and, when possible, we respond and take action on those patron ideas that we can reasonably accommodate within the framework of our budget and space. We are also committed to providing technology for our patrons in the form of downloadable books, checkout of Kindle Paperwhites, use of computers in a lab, user-friendly website, and social media, to mention a few. We have copiers, scanners, and other technology for our customer use. Our development of online services has proven popular among many of our patrons. The library is a welcome spot to visit.


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

Yes, I have had a library card since I moved to Antioch years ago, and it has served me well as my needs have changed. I used it as a mother taking my daughters to checkout books to develop a love of reading, later checking out books to bring to my classroom as a teacher in Antioch, and now I use it to read the books my grandson is reading in class at the high school. Throughout the years, I have used the library to check out books to support my passion for reading.

Space is an issue at many 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.

We continue to provide books in print as they are always in demand while rearranging space to provide more computers and space for digital devices. When reference books became less important due to the availability of the Internet and digital and online resources, those spaces were made available. In the last few years, less money has been spent on books while we have increased expenditures on digital purchases. When items like VHS tapes are no longer in demand those items are culled to make space. Space for user groups is at a premium and i believe libraries will continue to try to provide interest groups with space including study groups.

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

Technology has played a vital role in evolving how libraries provide for their patrons. In order to keep a library relevant, it must shift to provide what its patrons need. We have patrons who visit the library to check their email, research using the Internet, check out Kindles to read Eboooks, browse through a book, or bring their children for the children' s programs. Programs, digital resources, games for gaming stations, book titles are all added as the need for these items becomes apparent. I believe we listen to what the community asks for and try our best, while keeping a balanced budget, to provide those resources. Our programs change as needs change. We have provided resumé support, tax support, healthcare information, etc. as new needs arise and the community wants it. Our overall goals don't change, but the way in which we deliver them does as technology evolves.

What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?

I would like to continue to add to our many cool programs like chess with cookies, information on dementia, music on the veranda, movie nights including Oscar movie activities that tie in other community places. We provide so many great, free resources. It's a great day to be a member of our library!

Please name one current leader who most inspires you.

Candidate did not respond.

What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?

Candidate did not respond.

If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?

Candidate did not respond.

What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?

Candidate did not respond.

If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Candidate did not respond.